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The effervescent Loretta Lynn is one of country music's best-loved performers. Her life is a storybook, rags-to-riches tale that has captivated fans for decades. Hard work and a hard life are the twin foundations of her present status as "first lady of country music."

She started her life in Butcher Holler, Kentucky. This is coal country where her father, Ted Webb, and mother, Clara, made their home. Ted was a miner and farmer, and home was a small cabin. It was a hard life of hard work for the Webbs. One of their few pleasures was listening to the Grand Ole Opry, which was one of their few contacts with the outside world.

Loretta married Doolittle Lynn (known as "Doo" or "Mooney") at 13 and was a mother at 14. By the age of 18, Loretta was the mother of four children. By this time, the Lynns were living in Washington state, where Doo worked to support the family. Doo encouraged Loretta to sing and bought her a guitar. He helped her find work with a local band and then with her own group.

In 1960, Loretta recorded four songs for a small Canadian label named Zero Records. She and Doo mailed thousands of records to radio stations and drove across the country promoting "Honky Tonk Girl", a song Loretta wrote. It reached No. 14 on the country charts in 1960 and won her a guest appearance at the Opry that year. Two years later she joined the Opry full time.

Loretta regularly had records on Billboard's country Top Ten between 1962 and 1979 with "Success," "Blue Kentucky Girl," and "One's on the Way," among others. Her talent and her free spirit gained a new respect for female country singers. She wrote or co-wrote many of her hits, expressing a woman's perspective in "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)," "Your Squaw is on the Warpath," and others. "You're Lookin' At Country" and "Coal Miner's Daughter" were tunes about her country roots. She recorded many duets with Ernest Tubb but was most successful singing duets with Conway Twitty in the early 1970s. "After the Fire Is Gone," "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man," and others led the tandem to four consecutive CMA Vocal Duo of the Year Awards between 1972 and 1975. Loretta claimed the CMA Entertainer of the Year Award in 1972 and was the first woman to win this prize. Lynn's best-selling 1976 autobiography, Coal Miner's Daughter, and the 1980 hit movie by the same title increased her substantial fame. Loretta Lynn was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988.

Recently accepting the award for career achievement from Country Radio Broadcasters, Loretta Lynn remembered the early days of her career when she personally visited DJs to convince them to play her records. She received her award during a dinner held at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville.

Chely Wright and Pam Tillis paid tribute to her before the presentation of the award. Wright sang "You Ain't Woman Enough." Tillis did "Somebody Somewhere (Don't Know What He's Missin' Tonight)," and together they performed "Coal Miner's Daughter".