Lynn Anderson, best known for her classic hit “Rose Garden,” died at age 67, Thursday (July 30), at the Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. The cause of death was reported as a heart attack by Nashville newspaper The Tennessean. Lynn won the Country Music Association award for Female vocalist of the Year in 1971.
The daughter of accomplished songwriter Liz Anderson, Lynn seemed destined for stardom at an early age. She was born Sept. 26, 1947, in Grand Forks, N.D., and raised in California, where she won several awards for her equestrian skills. Lynn made her chart debut in 1966 with “Ride, Ride, Ride” and scored several Top 10 hits up to 1970. She also served as a regular on Lawrence Welk’s television variety show from 1967 to 1969, which exposed her to a national audience.
Her breakthrough came with “Rose Garden,” written by Joe South, which Lynn discovered after listening to one of Joe’s albums. “Rose Garden,” released in late 1970, immediately caught fire with the public and hit No. 1 on Dec. 26 for the first of five weeks. The song was also a crossover smash, peaking at No. 3 on the pop charts. Lynn copped a Grammy award for her performance in 1971 and won the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year honor later that same year. Lynn picked up four additional No. 1s following “Rose Garden,” including “How Can I Unlove You” and “What a Man, My Man Is.”
Her chart career waned during the latter part of the 1980s, but she continued to record albums and tour occasionally. Recently, Lynn recorded a gospel album titled Bridges. Lynn performed during the 2007 CMA Music Festival and also appeared at the Stagecoach festival in California in 2009.
Upon hearing the news of Lynn’s passing, several artists offered their thoughts and condolences. “She did so much for the females in country music,” said Reba McEntire. “She will be missed.” Duane Allen of The Oak Ridge Boys added, “It was a pleasure to record with Lynn. She sang her way to heaven.”
Lynn was married to songwriter Glenn Sutton from 1968 to 1977 and is survived by her longtime partner Mentor Williams and three children.