Loretta Lynn's first top-10 single, "Success," dropped 49 years ago. Since then, the American icon from Butcher Holler, Kentucky, has laid a solid groundwork for women in country music. Never forgetting her humble roots, Lynn has always been a voice for blue-collar, working-class women. Gems like 1967's "Don't Come Home a-Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)" and 1975's "The Pill" -- a liberating ode to oral birth control -- helped solidify her feminist stance, while "Dear Uncle Sam," her 1966 anti-war song, mourned the loss of American soldiers. (It's still played today at protests and demonstrations.) In the wake of honky-tonk's fall from favor, Lynn stayed relatively quiet, until she released Van Lear Rose, her 2004 comeback album produced by the White Stripes' Jack White.
Last year, Canadian horticulturist Brad Jalbert cultivated a rich, apricot-colored hybrid called the "Loretta Lynn Van Lear" to celebrate her career, which culminated in her retrospective, Coal Miner's Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn. On Friday, the country star plays to a sold-out house at the Star Pavilion on the first date of her national tour. (Check online sources for stray tickets.)