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Country Legend Lynn Anderson Dead at 67


Lynn Anderson, one of the biggest success stories of Seventies country music, died Thursday in her adopted hometown of Nashville. She was 67. The cause of her death has not yet been made public.

The 1971 CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, Anderson charted a dozen Number One country hits, including “You’re My Man,” “Top of the World,” “How Can I Unlove You” and “Rose Garden.” Also commonly referred to as “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden,” the Joe South-penned song was Anderson’s first tune to cross over to the pop charts. It was a multi-week Number One in the U.S., along with several European countries, and its namesake album held the title of the best-selling country LP by a solo female artist from 1971 until Shania Twain broke its record in 1997.

“She did so much for the females in country music,” Reba McEntire says of her late friend, “always continuing to pave the road for those to follow.”

The North Dakota-born, California-raised singer came from a musical family. Her parents, Casey and Liz Anderson were songwriters who helped found the Nashville Songwriters Association and were artists in their own right. Anderson started singing as a young child and competing in singing contests as a teen. She was discovered during one of her trips to Nashville with her mother and was signed to Chart Records in 1966. The following year, she scored her first Top 40 with “Ride Ride Ride,” which began a string of chart successes that continued throughout the Seventies. She became Tennessee’s favorite daughter with her version of the Osborne Brothers’ “Rocky Top,” which, starting in the early Seventies, became the signature song played at the University of Tennessee’s football games — and still is to this day.

With more than 30 million albums sold worldwide, Anderson charted 15 Top 20 LPs and more than 50 Top 40 singles. Her many accolades included a Grammy win for “Rose Garden” and Billboard’s title of “Artist of the Decade” for 1970—1980. She remained one of the most accessible artists to fans until her death, attending every Fan Fair (now called CMA Music Fest) but one, due to illness, from 1972 through this year.

Anderson is survived by her father Casey, partner Mentor Williams, three children, Lisa Sutton, Melissa Hempel and Gray Stream and four grandchildren.

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