2010 Rewind: No. 10 — Loretta Lynn’s 50th Leads Legends

It was quite a year for the Coal Miner’s Daughter — 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of Loretta Lynn’s emergence as a national star, and she was honored in a slew of ways, including parties, awards and a tribute album by some of today’s top artists. Loretta was joined by several other legends as 2010 honorees, including Merle Haggard, Jimmy Dean and now Dolly Parton. The recognition paid to the genre’s pioneering acts represents the No. 10 entry in our countdown of country music’s dozen top stories of the year. Loretta’s first single, “I’m A Honky Tonk Girl,” came out in 1960, and it seemed like every few months during 2010, the music business found some way to pay homage to her impact. Early in the year, she was accorded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, though she was unable to attend the Los Angeles ceremony. “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was added to the National Recording Registry, she was saluted with an anniversary party at her Tennessee home, she was celebrated with a Reba McEntire-hosted Recording Academy Salute at the Ryman Auditorium, and a bunch of her classics were remade in the album Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute To Loretta Lynn. That latter project brought Loretta the opportunity to sing the title track with Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow on the Country Music Association Awards. The album also features Lee Ann Womack, Kid Rock, the White Stripes, Alan Jackson and Carrie Underwood, among others. Loretta hand-picked all of the contributors — appropriate, because she’s not one of those veteran stars who dislikes newer versions of country music. Read More

Jimmy Dean, Don Williams Join Hall of Fame

Don Williams and Jimmy Dean, two vocalists who approached their public presence from very different angles, were officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame Sunday night in front of family, friends and a rather elite set of peers. A singer, comic and television pioneer, Jimmy built his career as a multi-faceted entertainer. Don worked several detail-oriented jobs before his breakthrough — he was a co-partner in a furniture store and an office administrator — and he made his public mark in a workman-like manner, eschewing the party circuit and putting his efforts into finding and delivering well-constructed songs. Neither singer was able to claim his medallion in person. Jimmy died in June, just a few months after he was told in a phone call that he would have a bronze plaque enshrined with his likeness in the Hall of Fame’s Rotunda alongside such fellow performers as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Jimmy’s childhood idol, Gene Autry. Read More

Jimmy Dean Dies Months Before Hall of Fame Induction

Jimmy Dean, named this year as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, never quite got to witness his official induction. The singer, best known for his dramatic coal-miner recitation “Big Bad John,” died Sunday at his home in Virginia, according to the Associated Press. He was one of country’s TV pioneers, hosting a local show in Washington, D.C., during the 1950s and picking up his own prime-time variety series during the ‘60s. In fact, “The Jimmy Dean Show” televised the Hall of Fame inductions of Eddy Arnold, Uncle Dave Macon, Grand Ole Opry founder George D. Hay and music publisher Jim Denny in October 1966. Read More

Alan Jackson Nailed “Hammer” With an Anvil

One of the things critics most often praise about Alan Jackson is his authenticity, and he went all out to be realistic when he recorded his current single, “Hard Hat And A Hammer.” “Hard Hat” is one of his trademark songs in celebration of the working man, and to give it a real air of authority, Alan featured a very unique instrument on the recording. Read More