Coal Miner's Daughter (song)

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"Coal Miner's Daughter"
Loretta Lynn-Coal Miner's Daughter.jpg
Single by Loretta Lynn
from the album Coal Miner's Daughter
ReleasedOctober 5, 1970 (U.S.)
RecordedOctober 1, 1969
LabelDecca 32900
Songwriter(s)Loretta Lynn
Producer(s)Owen Bradley
Loretta Lynn singles chronology
"You Wanna Give Me a Lift"
"Coal Miner's Daughter"
"I Wanna Be Free"

"Coal Miner's Daughter" is an autobiographical 1970 country music song written and performed by Loretta Lynn. Released in 1970, the song became Lynn's signature song, one of the genre's most widely known songs, and provided the basis for both her autobiography and a movie on her life.

About the song[edit]

"Coal Miner's Daughter" tells the true story of Lynn's life growing up in rural Kentucky "in a cabin on a hill in Butcher Holler", while her father, Melvin "Ted" Webb, worked all night in the Van Lear coal mine. The song additionally discusses how she and her seven siblings lived off of a coal miner's salary ("Daddy loved and raised eight kids on a miner's pay"), and that her father always made sure there was love in the Webb household.

Subsequent verses recall Lynn's other childhood experiences and hardships, such as her mother reading the Bible by a coal-oil light or having bloody fingers from constantly doing the laundry using an abrasive "warsh" board (this pronunciation was reflective of her Appalachian Kentucky roots),[1] ordering shoes from a mail-order catalog, and working so hard every day that everyone slept because "they were tired."

In the song's final verse, the now-adult Lynn returns to her homestead, which has since been abandoned ("Not much left but the floor; nothing lives here anymore ..."). However, she remarks that the "memories of a coal miner's daughter" remain.

"Coal Miner's Daughter" was unlike anything Lynn had ever recorded previously. She had become known for her sassy back-talking songs, including "Don't Come Home A' Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)" (an angry-wife's warning to a hard-drinking husband not to come home drunk and intent on making love) and "Fist City" (wherein a married woman threatens her husband's would-be temptress). However, fans quickly reacted to the song with praise and turned the song into one of country music's iconic hits.

Chart performance[edit]

Lynn recorded "Coal Miner's Daughter" in October 1969, but the song's release was delayed until October 1970. The song slowly climbed the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart during the latter half of the year, and reached No. 1 on December 19 for a single week.[2]

In addition to reaching No. 1 on the Country charts, "Coal Miner's Daughter" also was Lynn's first single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 83.

An album of the same name was also released in 1970, and despite the fact that the title track was the lone single, Coal Miner's Daughter became quite successful.

Chart (1970) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles[3] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[4] 83
Canadian RPM Country Tracks[5] 1


"Coal Miner's Daughter" served as the name of Lynn's 1976 autobiography, Coal Miner's Daughter: The Autobiography, which Lynn co-wrote. The song title also served as the name of Lynn's 1980 biographical motion picture on her life, Coal Miner's Daughter. The movie starred actress Sissy Spacek as Lynn and Tommy Lee Jones as Lynn's husband. The film's soundtrack featured Spacek singing all of Lynn's hits sung in the movie, including "Coal Miner's Daughter".

"Coal Miner's Daughter" helped provide a better understanding of Lynn, and led to the widespread fascination with her life story.

The song was listed at No. 185 on RIAA's list of Songs of the Century and was also listed in 2003's TV special at No. 13 on CMT's 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music.

In 2010 the Library of Congress put "Coal Miner's Daughter" on the National Recording Registry.[6]

Cover versions[edit]

Few singers have released cover versions of Lynn's hit, as it is a biographical song about Lynn's life. However, there have been several karaoke sing-along versions made in the past ten years.

The most famous cover of the song is the version recorded by Sissy Spacek for the motion picture, which is also featured on the soundtrack. The soundtrack peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard country album chart and at No. 40 on the Top 200 chart. In Canada the soundtrack peaked at No. 1 on the country album chart and No. 23 on the pop album chart. The single off the soundtrack peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard country singles chart and at No. 7 on the Canada country singles chart.

Loretta Lynn re-recorded the song with guest vocals from Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow in 2010 for Coal Miner's Daughter: A Tribute To Loretta Lynn. Additionally, this recording was released as a single in September 2010. This version of the song debuted and peaked at No. 55 on the Hot Country Songs chart for the week dated December 4, 2010. They also recorded a music video of the song and it became a CMT top ten hit. Additionally they were nominated for a Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music and a CMT Video award for the effort.

Stella Parton, little sister of Lynn's good friend Dolly Parton, also recorded the song on her 2010 album, American Coal.

Lynn re-recorded the song for her 2018 album Wouldn't It Be Great. The album consists of songs all written by Lynn with "Coal Miner's Daughter" being the closing song on the album, just as Loretta does in her live performances.


The song was parodied as Cow Minder's Daughter by Laraine Newman, who portrayed the fictional east Indian singer "Govinda Lynn" in a skit during episode 20 of season 5[7] of the US comedy series Saturday Night Live, first broadcast May 24, 1980.


  1. ^ Montgomery, Encyclopedia of Appalachia, 1004.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 209.
  3. ^ "Country Music: Top Country Songs Chart | Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  4. ^ "Music: Top 100 Songs | Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  5. ^ "Country Singles". RPM. 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  6. ^ "2009 - National Recording Preservation Board". Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  7. ^ "SNL Transcripts: Buck Henry: 05/24/80". 1980-05-24. Retrieved 2016-10-03.