His life is a novel, his songs set it to music. Loretta Lynn, who died on October 4 at the age of 90, embodied the most authentic American country alongside Dolly Parton. From poverty to wealth, from anonymity to the White House, where she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, a look back at the journey of a strong woman.
♦ “Coal Miner’s Daughter”
Coal Miner’s Daughter (“The Coal Miner’s Daughter”in French), his great hit of the 1970s, is also the title of his autobiography and that of a film by Michael Apted, released in France under the title of Nashville Lady in 1980, with Sissy Spacek in the title role.
The song Coal Miner’s Daughter tells the story of Loretta Lynn, born Loretta Webb on April 14, 1932 to a poor family in Kentucky. Eldest of eight siblings, she sings about her childhood in the pure working-class tradition of country music. “Well, I was born a miner’s daughter / In a cabin, on the heights of Butcher Holler”.
♦ “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)”
You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man) (“You are not a woman capable of taking my man from me”), a huge 1966 hit, made her the first country singer to reach number one on the charts in all musical categories. “Her man”, Oliver Vanetta, married at 15, shared her life for fifty years, until his death in 1996. Her husband encouraged her to sing with his golden voice, offered her a guitar at the start of the 1950s and won his first engagements in Nashville (Tennessee), the queen city of American country music.
She offers songs that tell her life, that of a courageous working-class woman, mother of six children, unfailingly outspoken. “Most songwriters were writing about falling in love, breaking up and being alone”she explained to wall street journal in 2016. “The female point of view that I was describing was new. »
♦ “Dear Uncle Sam”
With Dear Uncle Sam(“Dear Uncle Sam”) in 1966, Loretta Lynn signed a protest song, one of the first titles evoking the tragedy of the Vietnam War, before folk and pop seized it. Country music then speaks true on the major topical issues that upset American society.
Close to Uncle Sam, Loretta Lynn has supported several American presidents over the course of her long life, without deciding frankly between Republicans or Democrats. She sided with Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1976, but also supported Republican Donald Trump in 2016. And it was Democrat Barack Obama who presented her with the highest civilian award in the American nation in 2013, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.