NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As we get closer to the CMA Awards, it’s a time when country music fans not only celebrate the achievements of their favorite artists, but it’s also a time to think about the folks who paved the way for them in the genre, like Loretta Lynn and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Both legendary performers passed away recently. Lynn died at her home in Hohenwald, Tennessee October 4, while Lewis died October 28 at his home in Mississippi.
While both made considerable contributions to the evolution of country music, they each had vastly different approaches.
Lynn started her career in country music, while Lewis got his start in rock and roll, nicknamed “The Killer,” and known for the big hit “Great Balls of Fire.”
However, both artists have been recognized for their talents in country music and rock and roll.
In her 60 year career, Lynn became one of the most winningest country music stars.
The coal miner’s daughter from Kentucky formed a band in the early 60’s. She quickly became an icon for her unprecedented lyrics about life, love and growing up in rural Appalachia.
In 1967, Lynn became Country Music Association’s first Female Vocalist of the Year recipient after a series of Top 10 hit songs including, ‘Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind).’
She was the first woman ever named Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1972 and then by the Academy of Country Music three years later.
Meanwhile, around the same time Lynn was making waves in country music, Lewis was rebuilding his career after his marriage scandal in the ’50s.
Lewis reinvented himself in country music starting in the early ’60s. It was toward the end of the decade when he started racking up top hits and gaining more attention.
In the same month as his passing Lewis was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, one of country music’s highest honors.
In 1986, despite being previously “blacklisted” in rock and roll, Lewis became a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Lynn was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988.
Then in 1999, Lynn was named one of VH1’s Greatest Women of Rock & Roll.
Lynn and Lewis each have a long list of lifetime achievements, but for fans, they will remember them the most by the artist’s music, and how that music – whether rock and roll or country – has impacted and will continue to impact their lives.
The CMA Awards show takes place Wednesday, November 9.
News 2 is your CMA station. Our coverage begins at 6:30 p.m., as Neil Orne and Nikki Burdine host our LIVE half-hour Red Carpet special. Hear from nominees and performers as we count down to the big show at 7:00. We’ll have live coverage on News 2 at 10:00, followed by our CMA Awards After Party at 10:35.