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Few performers in country music have proved as influential and iconic as Loretta Lynn. At a time when women usually took a back seat to men in Nashville, Lynn was a voice of strength, independence, and sometimes defiance, writing and singing songs that spoke to the concerns of working-class women with unapologetic honesty. She could sing of her hardscrabble childhood (“Coal Miner’s Daughter”), deal with the realities of relationships (“Fist City,” “You Ain’t Woman Enough”), deliver proto-feminist anthems (“The Pill”), and explore mature romance (her series of duets with Conway Twitty) and sound perfectly authentic at every turn. Lynn’s voice, strong but naturalistic and matched to tough, lively honky tonk arrangements, reinforced the home truths of her songs, and her success blazed trails for other female country artists. As a member of the Grand Ol’ Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, she’s been honored by the country music establishment while still doing things her own way. She was a frequent presence on the country charts from 1960 to 1981, and even as tastes changed and her record sales faded, she continued to be a potent live attraction and a major influence on other artists. And at the age of 72, Lynn was discovered by a new generation of music fans when alternative rock star Jack White, a longtime fan, produced her 2004 album, Van Lear Rose.

Between 1966 and 1970, Lynn racked up 13 Top Ten hits, including four number one hits — “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’,” “Fist City” (1968), “Woman of the World,” and the autobiographical “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1970). In 1971, she began a professional partnership with Conway Twitty. As a duo, Lynn and Twitty had five consecutive number one hits between 1971 and 1975: “After the Fire Is Gone” (1971), “Lead Me On” (1971), “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” (1973), “As Soon as I Hang Up the Phone” (1974), and “Feelins’” (1974). The hit streak kick-started what would become one of the most successful duos in country history. For four consecutive years (1972-1975), Lynn and Twitty were named Vocal Duo of the Year by the Country Music Association. In addition to their five number one singles, they had seven other Top Ten hits between 1976 and 1981.

Here is her smash hit, “You Ain’t Woman Enough” performed live:

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