Loretta Lynn"s six years of boundary-breaking country music and also a 1980 film adaptation of her life, "Coal Miner"s Daughter," took her from Kentucky poor to American legend. But in every those years, she states she never had a date of birth party...until now. In beforehand April, country superstars and also 12,000 fans came together to celebrate she life and also musical tradition in Nashville. Jeffrey Brown reports.

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Amna Nawaz:

The songs of Loretta Lynn have actually spanned generations of nation music fans. Millions more came to recognize her story v the 1980 film "Coal Miner"s Daughter."

This Sunday, among the greatest numbers in American music turns 87. And also Loretta Lynn is a woman who knows just how to celebrate.

Jeffrey Brown joined her in Nashville.

It"s part of our recurring coverage of arts and culture series, Canvas.

Jeffrey Brown:

It was a birthday bash unlike any type of other, together the matriarch of country music was feted for a job that"s already spanned six decades.

Loretta Lynn:

Yes. Once I to be a small girl, mommy would certainly say, "Well, today, you"re 5 year old." following time, "Today, you"re 6."

I never had a birthday.

Jeffrey Brown:

A who"s-who of nation music, and 12,000 fans, to fill Nashville"s Bridgestone Arena in early on April to note Lynn"s 87 birthday. It to be her first public appearance due to the fact that suffering a stroke in 2017.

Serenading her, stars favor Miranda Lambert. And also all-time greats George Strait, Garth Brooks, and Trisha Yearwood.

Talking with us backstage prior to the show, Lynn stated all this was beyond imagining as soon as she was farming up in the small coal-mining community of Butcher Holler, Kentucky.

What was the hope, what to be the dream, what was the ambition earlier then?

Loretta Lynn:

You know, you never dare come dream big, because, where have actually you to be to dream? How might you dream once you have actually never viewed nothing or never been nowhere. Never been to town, so i — girlfriend didn"t challenge dream.

Jeffrey Brown:

As captured in a "American Masters" documentary, at 15, Loretta married Oliver Lynn, known as Doolittle. She had actually four kids by period 22 and also twins 10 year later.

It was a marital relationship of professional partnership, great love and plenty that turmoil. And she placed it every in she songs.

Good and also bad, huh?

Loretta Lynn:

Oh, yes. And he — that didn"t make no distinction what ns wrote. If that was around him, he would certainly say, "It"s a hit, honey."

I sang that the track that I cut on Sony last year. Ns sung it… that was the last track I sung him as soon as he died. And he said, "Honey, it"s a hit."

Jeffrey Brown:

What carry out you think he would be speak tonight?

Loretta Lynn:

He would be therefore proud the me. Oh, yes, he"d be the an initial — he would certainly be partying. Man, he would be down here raising all kinds of heck.

Jeffrey Brown:

Her an initial hit, "I"m A Honky Tonk Girl," came in 1960, and collection her top top a trailblazing path: very first woman in country music to compose a number one struggle song, "You Ain"t Woman enough to take My Man;" very first to be named country Music combination Entertainer that the Year, and also to have much more than 50 peak 10 country hits.

What"s the crucial to composing a great song? What go it need to have?

Loretta Lynn:

It"s gained to have the person.

Jeffrey Brown:

The person meaning you?

Loretta Lynn:

It"s acquired to have actually the heart and soul the a human that"s composing it.

Jeffrey Brown:

That sound simple, yet it can"t be basic to capture the actual person.

Loretta Lynn:

It"s no simple, because it"s difficult on the writer. I offered to lock myself up, close up door myself in a room, prior to I would obtain through through a song. I wouldn"t come out till I acquired it wrote.

Jeffrey Brown:

And when did you understand that you had actually it, that it was done?

Loretta Lynn:

Well, i would understand when I had actually it done. If you don"t recognize when you have it done, you shouldn"t be writing.

Jeffrey Brown:

She was a strong voice for women in a conservative industry, a powerhouse in a organization run by men, making herself a multimillionaire.

You know, us all recognize you as a good artist, but I recognize you have constantly been a good businesswoman, together well.

Loretta Lynn:

Pretty good.

Jeffrey Brown:

Was the — girlfriend took care of things?

Loretta Lynn:

Yes, i did.

Jeffrey Brown:

Because you had actually to? did you need to learn how to execute that?

Loretta Lynn:

If you"re hungry, yes. You learn exactly how to do a living if you"re hungry.

Jeffrey Brown:

It was an inspiration to women who followed, like Martina McBride.

Martina McBride:

She to be really among the first, if no the first woman that sang around stuff other than just being somebody"s love interest. She sang about her as a woman, and the points that she was going through, and also the points that she to be facing, and also living v a man, a not perfect relationship, and songs choose "The Pill." and also just yes, really groundbreaking stuff.

Jeffrey Brown:

And it reached to the various other side the the world, where a young Keith city played Lynn"s songs in sheathe bands while cultivation up in Australia.

Keith Urban:

She"s talking around home, and she"s talking about dreams, and she"s talking about heartbreak, and also she"s talking about desire, and love, and also just destruction, and all of it. It"s global.

Jeffrey Brown:

But Urban had actually a slightly more direct reason for being right here tonight.

Loretta Lynn:

Hey Keith, this is Loretta. And also I"m having actually a birthday, and I want to watch your target there.


Jeffrey Brown:

You acquire that call, and you"re in, right? You obtained no choice.

On stage, there to be duets made famed by Lynn and also Conway Twitty. And a version of controversial 1975 tune "The Pill" about birth control.

Darius Rucker:

I love her songs since she bleeds she heart out of her songs. Like, you feel that"s real. She feeling that. And she to know that. And she"s telling you that. Girlfriend can think that or not. She doesn"t provide a (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Yet it"s real.


Because she was type of favor living her entirety truth in the fullest space she might meant that the remainder of united state in she wake could be ourselves. I mean, it"s just, ns owe her the room I was standing in.

Jeffrey Brown:

Lynn herself told us she"s no done. She"s working on her next album.

So what"s to be the key to surviving and thriving for so lengthy in this business, as a songwriter, together a star, together a businesswoman?

Loretta Lynn:

You need to be smart. Difficult work, and also smart. That"s every it takes. If friend have obtained a tiny talent, you have the right to go a long way, if you"re smart and also put the work in it.

Jeffrey Brown:

The night"s grand finale? "Coal"s Miners Daughter," of course, with the star of stars joining in.

At first, she appeared to have actually forgotten her own words. However a couple of lines in, she was ready. And also she sang it v to the end.

For the " NewsHour," I"m Jeffrey Brown in Nashville.

Amna Nawaz:

And, online, us have an ext from Loretta Lynn and also the standout moment at her date of birth bash. That"s ~ above our web site,

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Jeffrey Brown is the chef correspondent for arts, society and culture at NewsHour.


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