Country singer Lynn Anderson, best known for her 1970 Grammy-winning crossover hit “Rose Garden,” died of a heart attack Thursday night at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She was 67 and had been hospitalized for pneumonia following a trip to Italy.
Anderson was born September 26, 1947, in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and raised in California. Her parents were songwriters Casey and Liz Anderson, and Liz wrote the Merle Haggard hits “(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers” and “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive.”
In 1966, Lynn Anderson released her debut single, a duet with Jerry Lane called “For Better or for Worse.” It failed to chart, but she went on to score her first top-5 hit, “If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away)” in 1967. Anderson went on to appear on ABC’s The Lawrence Welk Show as a regular in 1967 and 1968.
With the release of her first #1 country hit, “Rose Garden,” Anderson became a crossover star as the song hit #3 on the pop chart. She also won a Grammy Award for the song in addition to being named the Female Vocalist of the Year at the 1971 CMA Awards. Lynn also took the Female Vocalist of the Year honors at the ACM Awards in 1967 and 1970.
Anderson went on to chart nearly 60 more country hits and had her own CBS television special in 1977. Her career began to fade by the early ’80s, and Anderson scored her final top 10 hit in 1983 with the Gary Morris duet, “You’re Welcome to Tonight.” She released albums sporadically in recent years with her most recent project, Bridges, coming out just last month.
Anderson also faced multiple arrests for DUI in recent years, including a September 2014 arrest in Nashville. She is survived by her father, three children and four grandchildren.
Several stars have shared their thoughts on Lynn Anderson’s contribution to country music:
Reba: “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. Always continuing to pave the road for those to follow. I loved her music and her love for horses. ‘Rose Garden’ was a song I sang in high school in our Kiowa Cowboys High School band. She will be missed.”
Duane Allen of The Oak Ridge Boys: “It was a pleasure to record with Lynn. I remember the first time we saw her at the Utah State Fair. We were playing the small stage and we finished early enough to see her on the main stage. She owned Utah that night. She didn’t stop until she won everybody’s hearts including mine. She sang her way to heaven.”
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