The 56th annual CMA Awards opened Wednesday's broadcast with a flashback of Loretta Lynn accepting her first-ever Entertainer of the Year award before a trio of country stars, Miranda Lambert, Reba And Carrie Underwood, paid homage to the late music legend.
The moving tribute began when the awards show opened with the 1972 CMA Awards, the year Lynn scored an award that, at that point, no woman had ever achieved before, Entertainer of the Year. The clip showed Lynn donning a bright green outfit and jogging her way up to the stage after her name was called.
"I’d like to say that I’ve won a lot of awards," the singer said at the time. "And this is one that I had been nominated for I never did get. And this I think is the only one that I haven’t gotten. I’m real happy, but the only thing I’m kind of sad about is my husband … he couldn’t make it back in to share my happiness with me. Thank you."
The show then segued to Carrie Underwood onstage belting out her rendition of Lynn's 1966 hit track "You Ain't Woman Enough." Miranda Lambert was next with her version of Lynn's 1967 hit "Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)." Rounding out the trio was Reba McEntire, who belted out "You're Looking at Country." At one point, she tweaked the hit 1971 track's lyrics a bit when she sang, "If you're looking at Loretta, you're looking at country."
The trio then joined forces for "Coal Miner's Daughter." As the tribute went on, Lynn's photos were shown on the screen and country stars sang along, some of them while shedding tears. Following the trio's final rendition, the boisterous crowd let out a roaring ovation.
The acclaimed music icon, who scored over a dozen No. 1 hit singles and sold more than 45 million albums worldwide during a career that spanned six decades, died on Oct. 4 at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. She was 90. Her family said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight that she was "surrounded by her loving family" at the time of her death.
"Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, in her sleep at home at her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills," the family said, asking for privacy while they take time to grieve.
Lynn left an indelible mark in the music world, with hits like "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl" in 1960 and the iconic 1969 track "Coal Miner's Daughter." She was born in 1932 in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky and was the daughter of Ted Webb, a coal miner. Her story served as the inspiration to the track and the 1976 autobiography of the same name.
The book was later adapted into the acclaimed 1980 biographical film, in which Lynn was portrayed by Sissy Spacek, who won an Oscar for her performance.
Lynn would ultimately be inducted in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. She won her fourth GRAMMY in 2010 when she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and that same year President Barack Obama presented her with the highest civilian award in the United States with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Her death sent a ripple effect around the world, with today's country stars pouring in with tributes. Dolly Parton, Blake Shelton and Reba were among the slew of stars who paid tribute to Lynn.
Don't miss the full list of the 2022 CMA Awards Winners.