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‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’: Real Life In Butcher Holler, By Loretta Lynn

Ten years into her chart career, the self-taught singer, songwriter and guitarist took a number about her own life to No.1.

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Loretta Lynn artwork - Courtesy: UMG
Loretta Lynn artwork - Courtesy: UMG

On December 19, 1970, already ten years into her chart career, the self-taught singer, songwriter and guitarist Loretta Lynn took a number about her own life to No.1, when “Coal Miner’s Daughter” hit the country summit.

Coal Miner's Daughter

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The great country music figurehead wrote the song about her own upbringing as the second of seven children, “in a cabin on a hill in Butcher Holler,” the coal mining community where she was born on April 14, 1932 in Johnson County, Kentucky. It was a truly vivid depiction of her tough, working class beginnings in life, produced by the prolific Owen Bradley and released as a Decca single in October 1970 as the follow-up to Loretta’s Top 10 country hit “You Wanna Give Me A Lift.”

Fourth out of 16

Fans responded immediately to this new, autobiographical style, and “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was in the chart before the end of the month. In just its eighth week on the countdown, on the December 19 chart, the song replaced Sonny James’ “Endlessly” at the top to become the fourth in Lynn’s proud total of 16 country No.1s. Although it didn’t cross over to the pop market, it did represent a significant breakthrough, becoming her first-ever Billboard Hot 100 entry with a No.83 peak.

Listen to uDiscover Music’s Country Music In 20 Songs playlist.

In 1976, the song lent its title to Lynn’s autobiography, and another four years on it inspired the big screen biopic about her life. Also called Coal Miner’s Daughter and directed by Michael Apted, it won Sissy Spacek an Oscar for her portrayal of the great country queen, as well as a Golden Globe and other accolades; Spacek also sang her own vocals for the soundtrack. Lynn never underestimated the importance of the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” single in her career. As she said: “It told everybody that I could write about something else besides marriage problems.”

Buy or stream “Coal Miner’s Daughter” on Loretta Lynn’s Gold compilation.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Gea

    December 21, 2015 at 8:53 am

    I love her songs and movie so much

  2. Gina

    December 20, 2016 at 3:48 am

    Loretta I want you’re music I have you’re Coal Miners Daughter movie I have you’re Cd of Loretta Lynn you brought me & my husband together thank you so much we want you’re CDs records call me Loretta Lynn Gina

  3. Mark Jarvis

    December 21, 2021 at 3:48 am

    greatest country music the True queen of country, and she Never let, money, fame, or anything change her, she stayed very True to her country roots, and I really admire her for that. She’s one heck of a woman!!! I love you Loretty !

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