Today’s Google Doodle, the 9th (depending on how you count) U.S. Doodle in 2012 honoring a single individual on his birthday, is also the 9th U.S. Doodle in 2012 honoring a man. Even if the next Doodle were to honor a female creator or innovator, that would be 10% representation.
This Doodle honors Robert Doisneau, born April 14th, 1912, a French street photographer and pioneer photojournalism. He is often quoted as saying, about his work in photography:
“I don’t photograph life as it is, but life as I would like it to be.”
What a lovely sentiment — and so completely in tune with the goals of the Speaking Up For Us blog! Doisneau is honored by Google for his contributions to art and culture, and here we’ll be taking a look at Loretta Lynn, who made those kinds of contributions through music.
Country music star, singer, songwriter, and best-selling author Loretta Lynn was born on April 14th in the year 1935, and at 77 years old she is currently touring — in fact, she’ll be performing tonight in Grant, Oklahoma! She is perhaps most well-known for her song “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” her best-selling 1976 autobiography of the same name, and the film based on it, which netted an Academy Award for Sissy Spacek.
Lynn is also known for writing and recording songs that give voice to the stories of American, particularly working-class, women. Fittingly, she got her start on a 17-dollar guitar purchased for her by her husband, which she learned to play at age 24, already a mother of four children. Some of her songs have been controversial because of their focus on such issues as the Vietnam war, contraception, gender-based double standards, and divorce.
Lynn’s body of work is enormous, impressive, and legendary, and she is known as the “First Lady” of country music. This entire post could be filled with only her records and the accolades she has received. Here’s just a sampling: Loretta Lynn has written over 160 songs, and has released 54 studio albums, 15 compilation albums, and 88 single recordings. She’s had 16 number-one singles in the United States and 23 overall on the country charts, and ten number-one albums. Loretta Lynn was the first woman in country music to have an album certified as reaching gold status (in 1967), and repeated that feat with 7 later albums. She’s received 4 Grammy Awards, including a lifetime achievement award in 2010. At the time that she was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2008, Lynn had been inducted into more music Halls of Fame than any other woman. She was a Kennedy Center Honoree, recognized for her lifetime contributions to American culture, in 2003. She’s also received 7 American Music Awards, 12 Academy of Country Music awards, and 8 Country Music Association awards. She was the first woman (and to date, one of only 6 women) to be named the “Entertainer of the Year” by the Country Music Association, and was named the “Artist of the Decade” for the 1970s by the Academy of Country Music — and remains the only woman to have received that recognition.
I could keep going, but suffice it to say, Loretta Lynn has more than made her mark in American culture, arts, and music.