By now, you probably know of the passing of the great Lynn Anderson, who died on July 30th at the all too young age of 67. Cause of death, officially, was a heart attack, but that was just the culmination of an extended battle with pneumonia.
The daughter of songwriters Casey and Liz Anderson, Lynn was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota. With songwriter parents, it seems inevitable that Lynn would move towards a career in music. In her teens, she appeared regularly on the television show Country Caravan. She signed with Chart Records in 1966. Lynn's track record with Chart was mixed. Many of her early recordings fared poorly, but she managed a couple of hits as well. Musically, many will tell you that Lynn's recordings for Chart were some of her finest and most authentic. Lynn began performing on the Lawrence Welk Show in 1967 and signed with Columbia Records in 1970.
Soon after signing with Columbia, Lynn recorded a song written by Joe South and everybody's world changed forever. "Rose Garden" not only took hold of the #1 position on the Country charts, it reached #3 on the Pop charts and #5 on the AC charts. The song topped charts around the globe--and the "Rose Garden" album held the record for best selling album by a female solo artist until Shania Twain finally grabbed the title in 1997. The song was omnipresent through the early 70s. You couldn't turn on a Pop or Country station without hearing it at least once a day through 1973. The song ushered in a new era of smooth Pop Country that artists like Charlie Rich would drive a Mack truck through. And influential? I loves me some Crystal Gayle, but Crystal is pure Lynn Anderson with very little influence from sister Loretta Lynn. After scoring a Grammy for "Rose Garden", Lynn never again hit the American Top 40 pop, but continued charting Country hits through the eighties, including 4 more #1's. Both Billboard and Record World named Lynn the Female Artist of the Decade for the 70's. Her last Top Ten Country hit was 1983's "You're Welcome To Tonight" (with Gary Morris).
Which brings us to our bit of good news. According to our friends at The Yule Log, the people at Real Gone are expected to issue an expanded version of Lynn Anderson's "The Christmas Album" as part of their extensive holiday CD crop for 2015 (I believe there's a baker's dozen Real Gone Christmas releases coming this year). This was in the works long before Lynn fell ill and should exhibit all of the hallmarks of Real Gone's other releases (state of the art re-mastering, exceptional liner notes, original cover art, etc.). I can think of no finer tribute to one of the finest Country singers of my lifetime.