Country singer Lynn Anderson has died at the age of 67.
Anderson enjoyed a long career both as a country singer and a cross-over artist. She had her first solo hit in 1967, while signed as an artist with Chart Records. The song was “Ride, Ride, Ride,” an upbeat song written by Anderson’s mother, Liz Anderson.
Though “Ride, Ride, Ride” was a popular tune, Anderson experienced worldwide success with her 1970 mega-hit “Rose Garden,” which eventually became her signature song.
“Rose Garden” was a phenomenon that almost didn’t happen. Anderson had just signed with Columbia Records when “Rose Garden” was presented to her. Glenn Sutton, her husband at the time, along with the producer of the album she was recording, disagreed with her recording “Rose Garden,” as the song, written by Joe South, was written from a man’s perspective. But Lynn Anderson felt differently about the song.
“I totally believed in Joe South, and in this song,” said Anderson, according to CNN.
Anderson had finished a recording session and had some additional studio time, so it was then that she decided to record “Rose Garden,” according to the New York Times. The rest is history.
Lynn Anderson’s “Rose Garden” topped the American country music charts, and was one of the first cross-over hits by a female artist, reaching as high as number three on the pop charts.
“Rose Garden” was more than just a chart topper. It was met with critical acclaim, and earned Anderson the 1971 CMA Female Vocalist of the Year award, as well as a Grammy that same year, according to Rolling Stone.
“Rose Garden” saw a brief resurgence in popularity in the 1980s, but in a new format, as the chorus to the song was sampled in the Kon Kan single “I Beg Your Pardon”.
The country singer continued making and releasing albums over the years, and branched out into different genres. Her album The Bluegrass Sessions snagged her a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album of 2005.
Anderson continued her musical evolution with the June release of Bridges, Lynn Anderson’s premier gospel album.
Lynn Anderson will forever be linked to her iconic song with the flowery title, but she was much more than just a country singer.
Lynn Anderson took the fame that “Rose Garden” provided and made the music that she loved for more than forty years, and along the way became somewhat of an ambassador of country music on television. She was a regular performer on the Lawrence Welk Show, and she performed on the Grand Ole Opry. She even had a small recurring role in the 1970s television drama Starsky and Hutch.
She was a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. She was a country music icon, and accomplished things that women in the industry had never done before. Lynn Anderson’s album Rose Garden was the best-selling country album by a female artist from 1971 to 1997.
“Lynn Anderson really helped expand the boundaries of country music, because there wasn’t a log of (it) on network television at the time,” said Eddie Stubbs in an interview with the Tennessean.
And Lynn Anderson was an inspiration to many female country singers who followed in her footsteps.
“I am a huge fan of Lynn’s. She was always so nice to me. She did so much for the females in country music,” said Reba McEntyre in a statement to CNN.
Lynn Anderson died of cardiac arrest in a Tennessee hospital. She was recently admitted for treatment of pneumonia after returning from a trip to Italy.
[Image courtesy of Rick Diamond/Getty Images]