Country legend Loretta Lynn is born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky - HISTORY
Year
1935

Country legend Loretta Lynn is born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky

If there’s one thing nearly everyone knows about country-music legend Loretta Lynn, it’s what her father, Ted Webb, did for a living. Like any man struggling to provide for a family during the Great Depression, he took work wherever he could find it, but his primary job was in the mines of the Consolidation Coal Company in the rugged mountains of eastern Kentucky. Ted and his wife, Ramey, raised eight children in their small wooden house in Johnson County, including the most famous coal miner’s daughter in the world, who was born on this day in 1935.

As she sang in her autobiographical 1971 country hit, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Loretta Webb grew up dirt poor but well-loved and taken care of by her hardworking parents. She adored music and sang in church choirs as a child, but childhood did not last long for Loretta, who was married at the age of thirteen and left Kentucky for the logging country of Washington State with her husband, Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn. She was already a mother of four when she got her first guitar at age 18 and began to teach herself to play and write songs. Her next big move came at the age of 25, when Doolittle and Loretta’s tireless promotion of her first record, “I’m A Honky Tonk Girl,” got Loretta enough attention to warrant a move to Nashville, where she signed a contract with Decca Records. “Success” was the aptly named song that gave Loretta her first top-10 country hit in 1962, at the age of 27.

Loretta Lynn’s record sales and chart performance over the next two decades were enough on their own to qualify her for genuine “legend” status among country singers, but her contribution to the genre went beyond mere popularity. As a woman writing much of her own material and writing it from a strong, feminine perspective, Lynn helped transform the role of women in country music. Songs like “You Ain’t Woman Enough” and “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” (both 1966) introduced a new kind of female narrative to country music while also giving Loretta Lynn two of her biggest hits.

While Loretta Lynn’s popularity waned in the 1980s and 90s, she made a creatively triumphant return with her 2004 album Van Lear Rose, produced by Jack White of The White Stripes and named for a mining community near the place she was born on this day in 1935.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

U.S. bombs Libya

On April 14, 1986, the United States launches air strikes against Libya in retaliation for the Libyan sponsorship of terrorism against American troops and citizens. The raid, which began shortly before 7 p.m. EST (2 a.m., April 15 in Libya), involved more than 100 U.S. Air Force ...read more

Soviets to withdraw from Afghanistan

Representatives of the USSR, Afghanistan, the United States, and Pakistan sign an agreement calling for the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan. In exchange for an end to the disputed Soviet occupation, the United States agreed to end its arms support for the Afghan ...read more

RMS Titanic hits iceberg

Just before midnight in the North Atlantic, the RMS Titanic fails to divert its course from an iceberg, ruptures its hull, and begins to sink.Four days earlier, the Titanic, one of the largest and most luxurious ocean liners ever built, departed Southampton, England, on its ...read more

Lincoln is shot

On this day in 1865, John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Confederate sympathizer, fatally shoots President Abraham Lincoln at a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. The attack came only five days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee ...read more

U.S. Fifth Army joins in Italian offensive

On this day in 1945, the U.S. Fifth Army joins its British allies in the assault on the German occupiers of Italy.The Fifth Army, now under Lucian K. Truscott (General Mark Clark, former commander of the Fifth, was made commander of the Allied armies in Italy), began pushing its ...read more

Operation “Baby Lift” concludes

The American airlift of Vietnamese orphans to the United States ends after 2,600 children are transported to America. The operation began disastrously on April 4 when an Air Force cargo jet crashed shortly after take-off from Tan Son Nhut airbase in Saigon. More than 138 of the ...read more

President Lincoln is shot

At Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C., John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Confederate sympathizer, fatally wounds President Abraham Lincoln. The attack came only five days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his massive army at Appomattox, effectively ending the ...read more

Loretta Lynn is born

Loretta Lynn, a singer who greatly expanded the opportunities for women in the male-dominated world of country-western music, is born in Butcher’s Hollow, Kentucky.Unlike some country-western stars that sang about a rural working class life but lived an urban middle class ...read more

A major Dust Bowl storm strikes

In what came to be known as “Black Sunday,” one of the most devastating storms of the 1930s Dust Bowl era swept across the region on this day. High winds kicked up clouds of millions of tons of dirt and dust so dense and dark that some eyewitnesses believed the world was coming ...read more

Explosion on cargo ship rocks Bombay, India

The cargo ship Fort Stikine explodes in a berth in the docks of Bombay, India, killing 1,300 people and injuring another 3,000 on this day in 1944. As it occurred during World War II, some initially claimed that the massive explosion was caused by Japanese sabotage; in fact, it ...read more

John Wilkes Booth shoots Abraham Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln is shot in the head at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. The assassin, actor John Wilkes Booth, shouted, “Sic semper tyrannis! (Ever thus to tyrants!) The South is avenged,” as he jumped onto the stage and fled on horseback. Lincoln died the next ...read more

President Truman receives NSC-68

President Harry S. Truman receives National Security Council Paper Number 68 (NSC-68). The report was a group effort, created with input from the Defense Department, the State Department, the CIA, and other interested agencies; NSC-68 formed the basis for America’s Cold War ...read more