50 Years Ago Today: Loretta Lynn Scores Career-Defining No. 1 Hit
Loretta Lynn didn't just score a hit with "Coal Miner's Daughter," she also completely redefined herself and her career by writing one of the most impactful country songs of all time.
The country queen had already scored a long string of hits by the time she released "Coal Miner's Daughter" in 1970 as the advance single from her album of the same name. Released on Oct. 5, 1970, "Coal Miner's Daughter" became Lynn's fourth No. 1 hit on Dec. 19, 1970.
The song is an homage both to Lynn's father and her simple upbringing as the daughter of a real-life coal miner in rural Kentucky. Its evocative storytelling and plain-spoken lyricism have made it one of the most enduring classics in the history of country music.
Lynn went on to title her bestselling 1976 memoir Coal Miner's Daughter, and it was also the title of a hit film based on her memoir in 1980. Sissy Spacek won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter, which grossed $67.18 million against a budget of $15 million.
"Coal Miner's Daughter" stands as the defining song of Lynn's career and is often cited in lists of the greatest songs of all time, including Time's 100 All-Time Songs, the RIAA's Songs of the Century list, Rolling Stone's 100 Country Greatest Country Songs of All Time and more. The Library of Congress added the song to the National Recording Registry in 2009.
Loretta Lynn Through the Years: