The Story Behind The Song: ”Coal Miner’s Daughter” – Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn
Loretta Lynn

“Coal Miner’s Daughter” is a song detailing Loretta Lynn’s childhood in “Butcher Hollow”, (she pronounced it “Holler”) which was located near the Eastern Kentucky town of Paintsville. It is the most significant record of her career. The song became her fourth #1 single, the title of a best-selling autobiography, (co-authored by New York Times writer George Vecsey), and the title of an Academy-Award winning movie in 1980, starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones. Loretta had wanted to write a song about her youth for many years, and she got the opportunity while waiting to perform on a local television show, at the WSIX-TV (now WKRN) studios in Nashville. 

During a break in taping, with nothing better to do, she went back to her dressing room and began writing off the top of her head. Within the hour, she had fashioned a rough draft of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” that included nine verses! When Loretta appeared at Nashville’s famed Quonset Hut studio to record the song on October 1, 1969, it was determined that nine verses, would make the recording much too long for a successful release as a single, so her longtime producer Owen Bradley helped her trim it up.

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