Coal Miner’s Daughter (Mining Movie – 1980)

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Coal Miner’s Daughter is a 1980 American biographical film which tells the story of country music icon Loretta Lynn. It stars Sissy Spacek in her Academy Award for Best Actress winning role, Tommy Lee Jones, Beverly D’Angelo and Levon Helm, and was directed by Michael Apted.


The film was adapted from Lynn’s 1976 autobiography written with George Vecsey. Loretta Lynn was one of eight children born to Ted Webb (Levon Helm), a coal miner raising a family despite grinding poverty in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, pronounced by locals as “Butcher Holler”. She married Oliver Vanetta (Doolittle) “Mooney” Lynn (Tommy Lee Jones) when she was 13 years old.

A mother of four by the time she was 19 (and a grandmother by age 29), Lynn began singing the occasional song at local honky-tonks on weekends as well as making the occasional radio appearance.

At the age of 25, Norm Burley owner of Zero Records a small Canadian record label heard her sing on one of her early Northern Washington radio appearances and gave the couple the money needed to travel to Los Angeles, to cut a demo tape from which her first single “Honky Tonk Girl” would be made.

After returning home from the sessions, Mooney suggested that they go on a promotional tour in order to push the record. He took his own publicity photo, spent many late nights tirelessly writing each individual radio disc jockey from a published list of country radio stations all over the South along with show promoters and after Loretta receives an emergency phone call from home telling her that her father has passed away, she and Mooney hit the road with records, photos and kids in tow.

After the funeral and dropping the kids off at Loretta’s mother’s house in Kentucky, Loretta and Mooney used the remaining money provided for the trip to L.A. to record, to embark on an extensive radio station promotional tour of the Greater South.

Enroute, and unbeknownst to the pair, Loretta’s first single, “Honky Tonk Girl”, had hit the charts based on radio as well as jukebox plays and earned her a spot on the Grand Ole Opry.

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