It was in 1953 that Loretta Lynn's husband gave her an anniversary gift that would transform their lives: a $17 Harmony guitar.
Sixty years and dozens of hits later, she is considered the First Lady of Country Music, an iconic singer, songwriter and author. She will perform in Savannah on Oct. 6 at the Johnny Mercer Theatre.
Born in Butcher Hollow, Ky., Lynn was the daughter of a coal miner. She was 15 when she married and 16 when she had her first child.
Twenty-one when she was given the guitar, Lynn taught herself to play along as she sang to her children.
When she was 24, her husband encouraged her to become a singer. After working to improve her guitar playing, she started singing with the Pen Brothers and their band, The Westerners.
In 1960, Lynn recorded her first record, "Honky Tonk Girl." In all, she has recorded 70 songs that made the hit charts. From the start, she focused on blue-collar women's issues, including cheating husbands and birth control.
At times, her songs were controversial and some stations refused to play them.
In 1976, Lynn released her first autobiography. In 1980, it was made into an Academy Award-winning film, "Coal Miner's Daughter," starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones. Even today, Lynn's music tops the charts. Her album, "Van Lear Rose," was produced by Jack White and released in 2004, and she is working on another album with White.
Lynn was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on Sept. 25, 1962 and received a lifetime achievement award from the Country Music Awards in 2010.