On Tuesday morning, Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium unveiled a new bronze statue of country icon Loretta Lynn outside the music venue. The new artwork is the third statue on the venue’s Icon Walk, which joins similar sculptures of Little Jimmy Dickens and Bill Monroe.
The new Lynn statue was sculpted by artist Ben Watts to enshrine the country star on the hallowed country music venue grounds. The Ryman hosted a short ceremony where they praised Lynn’s historic career. Ryman Auditorium’s General Manager Gary Levy and Hospitality CEO Colin Reed commended Lynn, 88, as a “living-legend.” In addition, the pair thanked Lynn for her “enduring” contributions to country music and the venue itself.
Although Lynn could not make it, her daughters Patsy Russell and Peggy Lynn were scheduled to attend in her name. However, both daughters woke up not feeling well and had to cancel.
Lynn Thanks the Ryman and Her Fans for the Honor
Only five days prior to the statue ceremony, the Ryman celebrated another Lynn milestone. Lynn’s 60th anniversary of her Grand Ole Opry debut occurred on Oct. 15, 1960.
“My first memory I have of the Grand Ole Opry was, when I went out to sing, I remember patting my foot, and that’s it,” she explained. “I don’t remember even singing. I was so excited, I don’t remember singing. But I remember patting my foot.”
“Isn’t that weird? I thought it was weird,” Lynn joked. “I went offstage and thought, ‘I forgot to listen to myself sing!'”
Even though Lynn did not attend the statue ceremony, she did release a statement that was read aloud.
“My dream, like thousands of other singers, was just singing on the Grand Ole Opry… Many years, I’ve stood onstage at the Ryman Auditorium, and there’s no place like it,” Pete Weien of Ryman Hospitality read. “It means so much to me to have the statue … One day soon, I’m gonna get to come to the Ryman and see it for myself. But for today, I want to say thank you, and I love each and everyone of you for thinking of me.”
The First Lady of Country Music blazed a trail for women in the genre. In 1972, Lynn was the first woman to win CMA Entertainer of the Year. She recorded more than than 60 albums to her name. Lynn boasts 10 number one records and 16 number one country singles. The icon is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame, and the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
[H/T Taste of Country]