Loretta Lynn: The Coal Miner’s Daughter

“The Coal Miner’s Daughter” was among the most unforgettable songs by Loretta Lyn. Later in 1980, the top-charting song became a title to an American biographical musical film.

Loretta Lynn’s Path to Fame

During the early years of Lynn’s country music career. Lynn would release sixteen of her 70 top charted songs during the 1960s and the 1970s. This included “The Coal Miner’s Daughter”.

Lynn produced songs that focused on the struggle that she encountered with her marriage. This included philandering husbands and persistent mistresses. Lynn looked further beyond the conservative boundaries of country music. She focused on several social issues such as, repeated childbirth, double standards for men and women and being widowed by the Vietnam war.

It’s Lynn’s song containing a different source of inspiration. An autobiography, of Lynn’s life, was summed up into a song. “The Coal Miner’s Daughter” upon its release made it to the top of the charts. In 1980, a film, “The Coal Miner’s Daughter”, was released in honor of Lynn.

“The Coal Miner’s Daughter” as a Song

The song “The Coal Miner’s Daughter” was written and performed by Loretta Lyn. This song became Lynn’s signature song. Lynn made several recordings of various songs prior to the release of “The Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

Lynn was known for her songs that usually talk back like, “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind), where it depicted an angry wife’s warning to her husband that was a heavy drinker not to come home drunk with making love in his mind.

The song stood out as it depicted the life that Lynn and her siblings had to go through as children of a coal miner. With the new variety of Lynn’s song fans praised and eventually turned the song to be one of the country music’s iconic hits.

Why It’s Worth the Listen

In the first verse of the song, Lynn introduced her family. She also gave the listeners a glimpse of the hardship that her father was going through just to earn a living.

The song drew a picture of Lynn’s daily life. While her father worked all night in the Van Lear Coal Mine, the song drew a picture of how the family was able to lived-off a coal miner’s salary. Though money required a lot of work for her dad, love was one thing that never ran dry in the Webb household.

The following verses reflected more hardships in Loretta Lynn’s life. She wrote that her mother would often end up having bloody fingers from scrubbing the laundry with the use of an abrasive washboard. Lynn also mentioned that during the summertime they won’t be able to have shoes to wear.

For the song’s final verse, the now-adult Lynn honored the memories she had as a coal miner’s daughter. Memories that would not fade through time. A gem, indeed, that’s worth keeping for the rest of Lynn’s life.

The Coal Miner’s Daughter” as a Film

Following the success of the song, “The Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Lynn co-wrote her autobiography with George Vecsey.

The film was released on March 7, 1980. Tom Rickman wrote the screenplay of the award-winning film and directed by Michael Apted. This starred Sissy Spacek as Lynn. For the supporting roles, we have Tommy Lee Jones, Beverly D’Angelo, and Levon Helm. The then big names Ernest Tubb, Roy Acuff, and Minnie Pearl also made cameo appearances.

Why It’s Worth the Watch

The movie “The Coal Miner’s Daughter” had a relaxing flow in its story. The film had this rags-to-riches story where success would be the catalyst of failure. The life of Loretta Lynn was a perfect example.

There are several factors why “The Coal Miner’s Daughter” was a very relaxing movie to watch. First, it involved the basic materials to a film’s plot (The rags to riches, overnight change of fortune, the breakdown, and of course the great comeback). The film transmitted these elements to a true to life figure. Secondly, it was a great screenplay for Sissy Spacek. As the main actress, Sissy displayed the magical chemistry that he had with prior projects that she had done.

A True to Life Movie

It revolved ‘round the relationships he had together with her husband, Mooney (played by Tommy Lee Jones) and her first close entertainment industry friend and mentor Patsy Cline (played by Beverly D’Angelo).

Her life began in poverty through the coalfields in Kentucky. Lynn married at an early age and had four children. She learned to play with the use of a pawnshop guitar. Her husband, seeing the great potential in her voice, supported her. It’s stardom that none of them has planned. Later, Lynn would find herself performing in stages. From a humble start, she quickly rose to stardom.

It wasn’t much of a surprise to that after flashes of stardom, an inevitable downfall came next. After scenes of her becoming a superstar, the pressure has finally taken its toll on her. Lynn started using pills and having recurrent headaches and would complain about stress.

We ultimately believe in success. But we also believe that with success on the horizon, the same goes for the sufferings that came with the effort exerted in reaching the peak. It sometimes does come true and when it does, it always adds spice to every story.


Awards & Recognitions

Over the span of years, “The Coal Miner’s Daughter” was able to bag several awards both as a song and as a film itself.  Here’s a list:

Song:

1970 December: Billboard Hot Country Singles (1 week)

Billboard Hot 100 – Number 837th Highest Grossing Film in 1980

The Film:

Academy Awards (1981): Best Actress in a Leading Role: Sissy Spacek (Oscar)

Golden Globe, USA (1981)Best Motion Picture – Comedy or MusicalBest Actress in Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical: Sissy Spacek

Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards (1980)Best Actress: Sissy Spacek

Los Angel Film Critics Association Awards (1980)Best Actress: Sissy Spacek

National Board of Review (1980)Best Actress: Sissy SpacekTop Ten Films

National Film Preservation Board USA (1981)Best Actress: Sissy Spacek

National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA (1981)Best Actress: Sissy Spacek

New York Film Critics Circle Awards (1980)Best Actress: Sissy Spacek

The most recent achievement of the film was in 2019.  Given its cultural and historical significance, the Library of Congress opted for the film for preservation by the United States National Film Registry.