Country music legend Loretta Lynn died today at age 90. Her career spanned seven decades and paved the way for outspoken women in country music. With clever lyrics about women’s liberation or her womanizing husband, she became an icon for generations of songwriters who admired her honest music.
“Loretta Lynn is everything to country music, especially women in country music and women in rural America. You cannot overestimate what she meant to us. And without her, country music would not sound like it does today,” says Beverly Keel, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University.
She adds that Lynn’s humor can be overlooked. “She was very funny, very saucy, poked fun at herself, poked fun at others. … It was impossible not to smile when you met her, and you felt like you had known her your whole life. She called you honey. … She was like your country aunt. … She supported every female country singer.”