WATCH: Jack White Gives Heartbreaking Performance at Loretta Lynn Memorial

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMT)

For over 60 years, Loretta Lynn inspired fans and fellow musicians with her trail-blazing career. The beloved country music star received countless awards and accolades for her honest, relatable lyrics, hauntingly beautiful voice, and indelible impact on the world.

On October 4, 2022, the singer-songwriter passed away peacefully, asleep at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. The devastating loss was felt across the country, Loretta Lynn’s innumerable admirers in disbelief that the world was without one of its brightest lights.

As a pioneer of the genre and true Queen of Country, it was only right that Loretta Lynn receive a farewell befitting royalty. Artists flocked to the Grand Ole Opry to celebrate the life of the late icon, including White Stripes frontman Jack White, whose special bond with Loretta Lynn stretched back decades.

A last-minute addition to the star-studded line-up, Jack White performed a rendition of “Van Lear Rose,” the title track from Loretta Lynn’s hit 2004 album that White produced.

Van Lear Rose won the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Country Album. It also features a Loretta Lynn – Jack White duet, “Portland Oregon,” that won the Grammy for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.

Jack White Mourns the Death of Loretta Lynn

Following the news of Loretta Lynn’s death, Jack White posted a heartbreaking two-minute video in which he described his friendship with the country icon.

“I said years ago I thought she was the greatest female singer-songwriter of the 20th century,” White recalled. “I still believe that. Loretta used to say, to make it in the evilness, you had to either be great, different, or first.”

“And she thought that she was just different and that’s how she made it,” he continued. “But I think she was all three of those things … What she did for feminism, women’s rights, at a time period and in a genre of music that was the hardest to do it in, is just outstanding and will live on for a long time.”

White explained that recording Van Lynn Rose together was a near-transcendental experience for him. Becoming a part of Loretta Lynn’s legacy is an honor that Jack White will carry with him for the rest of his days.

“There were times where I had to just sort of take a pause and step outside because she was so brilliant, I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing and hearing,” he said. “She was like a mother figure to me, and also a very good friend, at times, and told me some amazing things that I’ll never tell anybody.”