Lynn Anderson, the singer who released 33 studio albums and had five country chart toppers, died on Thursday night from an apparent heart attack at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
She had been hospitalized earlier in the week with pneumonia. Anderson was 67.
Anderson was born in Grand Forks, ND and raised in California by her father, Casey, and her mother, Liz Anderson. Both were songwriters with Liz writing such major country hits as Merle Haggard’s I’m a Lonely Fugitive, Del Reeve’s Be Quiet Mind and Lynn’s If I Kiss You. Liz also had her own top ten hit with Mama Spank (1967 / #5 Country).
Lynn knew she wanted to be a singer from a young age, winning trophies for performances at local horse shows and, by the time she was in her teens, she was a regular on the program Country Caravan.
In the mid-60’s, Anderson’s mother was signed to a recording contract and Lynn traveled with her to Nashville where she found herself singing harmony in a hotel room with Merle Haggard and Freddie Hart. Chart Records’ Slim Williamson heard her and signed her to his label where she released her debut single, For Better or For Worse, as a duet with Jerry Lane. While the record didn’t chart, it was only two more releases before she hit with Ride, Ride, Ride (1966 / #36 Country) and followed with her first top ten, If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away) (1967 / #5 Country).
It was also during 1967 that Anderson became a regular on The Lawrence Welk Show, exposing her talents to a wider audience. Over the next four years she would have ten more top twenty country hits before she finally struck gold.
In 1970, Anderson moved from Chart to Columbia Records and her third single for the new album was Joe South’s (I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden. At first, her producer and husband Glenn Sutton didn’t want her to record the song because it was written from a male perspective but they found the time to lay down the track at the end of a recording session. The results were so good that Columbia president Clive Davis insisted on releasing it as a single.
Rose Garden became Anderson’s first number 1 country single, staying at the peak for five weeks, and crossed over to go to number 3 on the Hot 100.
The song launched Anderson’s career to a new level and, even though she never saw equal success on the Pop charts, her next two singles (You’re My Man and How Can I Unlove You) also topped the Country Singles. Overall, she would have seventeen top ten songs including two more chart toppers, Keep Me in Mind (1973) and What a Man My Man Is (1974).
By the end of the 70’s, Anderson’s songs were falling lower on the charts and she left Columbia in 1980 taking three years off from recording. She made a resurgence in 1983 with her final top ten hit, You’re Welcome to Tonight, a duet with Gary Morris, and recorded a number of albums for Permian, MCA and Mercury Records.
In 1990, she starred in The Wreck on the Highway for BBC Scotland and, two years later, recorded the album Cowboy’s Sweetheart but that was her only output for the decade. In the 2000’s, she returned to recording and live performing with her final album, Bridges, being released earlier this year.
Anderson was also an expert horse rider, winning sixteen national and eight world championships.
She is survived by her father, three children, four grandchildren and her partner, Mentor Williams.