10 All-Time Best Loretta Lynn Songs
Loretta Lynn’s story is one of the most celebrated in the history of American music and her songs are some of the most memorable. These are her Top 10.
The Country Music Hall of Famer arrived on the scene with an independent recording of "I’m a Honky Girl" in 1960. After a move to Decca Records with producer Owen Bradley, Lynn would rise to the top of country music at the forefront of the women’s liberation movement. This list represents the best of those songs that inspired women and told Lynn's own story, and those which have secured a place in country music history.
Encompassing her entire career — from her 2004 tribute to her late husband, "Miss Being Mrs.," to the controversial story of "The Pill" and her award winning duets with Conway Twitty — these are the Top 10 Loretta Lynn songs.
The list was made up of sales and radio success, cultural impact, influence on the next generation and good old fashion fan and critic opinion. Is there a song you think belongs? Share your favorite Loretta Lynn song in the comments section below, especially if you can attach a personal story to some of her top songs. Lynn is a legend, one of the greatest country artists of either gender to be played on country radio.
Her music will live on forever.
Representing one of her projects from the 2000s, "Miss Being Mrs." is from the album Van Lear Rose, produced by Jack White of the White Stripes. The album’s unique pairing proved to be quite daring and rewarding. The project received positive reviews and earned five Grammy nominations, with this single earning Best Country Song and Best Country Female Vocal Performance nods. Out of all the selections on the album, including ‘Portland, Oregon,’ we feel this song has a closer connection to Lynn’s heart, as it was released as a tribute to her late husband.
The most controversial song of Loretta Lynn's career, "The Pill" was banned by many radio stations due to it’s risqué subject matter of birth control. At that time, discussions of this nature were considered inappropriate, especially by a female. In several interviews following the song’s success, Lynn insisted that physicians told her that this song had done more to highlight the availability of birth control in isolated, rural areas, than all the literature they'd released. This progressive single is a must-have on our list of the Top 10 Loretta Lynn songs.
Loretta Lynn is as country as can be! The feisty country bumpkin was born in Butcher Holler, Kentucky. The second of eight children in a poverty stricken family, Lynn beat the odds and rose to stardom. Named after movie star Loretta Young, Lynn never lost her country charm, even after hitting it big. Like many of her hits, "You’re Lookin’ at Country" also tells the story of Lynn’s life — a story that related to so many others during this era.
"One’s on the Way" is a comical song about being pregnant. The tune hit a chord with every woman who had married too young and had one too many children. It’s no surprise that this story came from the twisted mind of Shel Silverstein, the great poet, cartoonist, songwriter, and author, who also penned "A Boy Named Sue" for Johnny Cash and "Marie Laveau" for Bobby Bare. Silverstein gave Lynn another hit by writing "Hey Loretta" in 1973. There’s no doubt that "One’s on the Way" belongs on our list of the Top 10 Loretta Lynn songs.
Like many of her songs, "First City" mirrored a real life story. The song was inspired by the women who flirted and pursued Lynn's husband while she was busy touring. Lynn wrote the song as a warning for these women to stay away. Obviously, other ladies could relate to the song, especially those too timid to speak up, and once again, Lynn found success as the spokeswoman for her peers.
When Loretta Lynn was paired with Conway Twitty in 1968, they became a successful duo thanks to their first No. 1 duet, "After the Fire Is Gone." "Lead Me On" was released as a single from their second duet album, and would help them win the first of four CMA Awards for Vocal Duo of the year from 1972-1975. Ironically, these duo awards would be the only major awards Conway Twitty would ever receive from the CMA throughout his amazing career.
Produced by the great Owen Bradley — who also made hits for Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, and Brenda Lee -- this single came from Loretta Lynn’s second studio album. The song once again tackled marital problems, which was a common theme in her music, and served as a warning for single ladies to stay away from her husband. One year after this song peaked at No. 2, Loretta Lynn won the CMA’s Female Vocalist of the Year Award.
Released as the third single in the Conway Twitty/Loretta Lynn duet series, "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man" hit No. 1 in 1973. Prior to pairing with Twitty, Loretta Lynn’s first regular duet partner was Ernest Tubb. Although Tubb was nearly 20 years older than Loretta, together they hit with "Mr. and Mrs. Used to Be" and "Sweet Thang." However, as her career began to rise, it was suggested that she record duets with someone closer to her age. The result was someone she actually adored as a teenager -- former rock and roller Conway Twitty.
Loretta Lynn was encouraged by her husband O.V., a.k.a Mooney, to pursue a career in music. Despite his belief and support of his young talented wife, they had several marital problems, which inspired Lynn to write some strong songs. Lynn’s own troubles resembled those of many of her fans, who found the courage and strength to speak out thanks to songs like "Don’t Come Home a Drinkin" (With Lovin’ on Your Mind).' That's just one of the many reasons this song belongs on our list of the Top 10 Loretta Lynn songs.
By the time "Coal Miner’s Daughter" was released in 1970, Loretta Lynn had already racked up 10 years of hits. Through the years, Lynn always wanted to write a song about her childhood, and the chance came while she was waiting to do some television work. While on break one day, she headed to her dressing room and wrote nine verses about her life. Trimmed down to six verses in the studio, the song became the most significant record of her career, plus the title of a best-selling book and movie.