Coal Miner's Daughter

Album: Coal Miner's Daughter (1970)
Charted: 83

Songfacts®:

  • Loretta Lynn really was born a coal miner's daughter on April 14, 1932, and this autobiographical song reflects the hardships of growing up in rural Kentucky, where there was little money but a lot of love. Far from a lament, Lynn wears this song like a badge of honor and sings about how proud she is of her background.

    It was a change of pace for Lynn, who had gained popularity with tough-talking, assertive country classics like "Don't Come Home A' Drinkin (With Lovin' on Your Mind)" and "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)."
  • Lynn named her 1976 autobiography after this song. In 1980, it was adapted into the biopic Coal Miner's Daughter, with Sissy Spacek in the lead role. Spacek, who was originally supposed to lip-synch, performed all the songs for the film. Her version of the title track was a country hit at #23, and her portrayal of Lynn earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress.
  • Working in the coal mines was a perilous job that offered little reward. Even when the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 ensured workers a federal minimum wage, 25 cents an hour, it didn't do much for coal workers, who weren't paid by the hour, but by the ton. Lynn's father, Theodore Melvin "Ted" Webb, faced risks of collapses, gas explosions, and gas poisoning and a host of potential illnesses every day, and if he was lucky, he could bring home a few dollars for his trouble.

    Webb lost his job at the Van Lear Coal Mines when he suffered a stroke when he was already struggling with pneumoconiosis (black lung), a chronic lung disease from regularly breathing in the dust in the mines. He would die of another stroke in 1959 at age 51.
  • This topped the country chart for one week in December 1970. It was also Lynn's first crossover to the Hot 100, where it peaked at #83.
  • When Lynn wrote this song, it had four additional verses that her producer, Owen Bradley, told her to remove. "He said, 'There's already been one 'El Paso,' and there's never going to be another one,' Lynn told the TV Critics Association in 2016. "So I fiddled around and fiddled around, and finally I got four verses that I took off of 'Coal Miner's Daughter.' I wished I hadn't, but I did."

    Sadly, these verses were lost forever, as Lynn left them in the studio.
  • Lynn re-recorded this with Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow for the 2010 album Coal Miner's Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn.
  • This was featured on the TV series 7th Heaven in the 2004 episode "Song of Lucy."
  • Lynn was supposed to be writing a bluegrass tune for the Osborne Brothers when she realized she was writing a distinctly female song. She said, "By the time I finished the first line I said, 'Hey, that's not going to do. They can't be coal miner's daughters - what's wrong with me?"

Comments: 2

  • Linda And Ronald Iser from Wheeling W Vi I love the song. I am a coal Miners daughter, Grand Daughter , niece and a coal miners wife. Ronald my husband was a Coal Miner until they closed the mine. He loved it . And I am very proud of him and my family.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 4th 1980, the Loretta Lynn bio-movie 'Coal Miner's Daughter" had its world premiere in Nashville, TN; and three days later it opened in theaters across the U.S.A.
    The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won one, Sissy Spacek for 'Best Actress'...
    The movies’ soundtrack album reached #1 on the Canadian RPM Country Albums chart, and #2 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart...
    During the year of 1980 Loretta Young had three records make Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart; "Pregnant Again" {#35}, "Naked in the Rain" {#30}, and "Cheatin' on a Cheater" {#20}...
    Ms. Lynn, born Loretta Webb, will celebrate her 83rd birthday next month on April 14th {2015}.
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