Lynn Anderson Heading To Her Rose Garden

Lynn Anderson.jpg

Submitted by Don Graham

Country legend, Lynn Anderson, has passed away in Nashville Tennessee less than two months shy of her 68th birthday.

The Grammy-winning performer, whose 1970 single, "Rose Garden," was a country and pop hit worldwide, died after suffering a heart attack. Anderson had recently been hospitalized with pneumonia after returning from a trip to Italy.

She was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota on September 26th, 1947, to songwriters Casey and Liz Anderson. Liz Anderson was a recording artist and a songwriter, whose best known for writing  Merle Haggard's "I Am a Lonesome Fugitive" and "(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers.

Anderson's first single was released in 1966, when she was just 19 years old.It was a duet with Jerry Lane titled “For Better or for Worse.” Although it failed to chart, her next single “Ride, Ride, Ride”, made it onto  the country charts, and the follow-up “If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away)”, written by her mother, made it into the Top 5.

Anderson was a regular on the popular Lawrence Welk Show in the late ‘60s, which gave her exposure to a national audience. It was said that Lynn Anderson helped  broaden  the boundaries of country music because there wasn't a lot of country music to be found on network television at that time.

Lynn married record producer and songwriter Glenn Sutton in 1968 and he produced a few of her hit songs as well as writing several including“You're My Man” and “Keep Me In Mind.” The couple would divorce in 1977.

Lynn moved from California to Nashville in 1970 and signed with Columbia Records. In the fall of that year, she would release what would become her signature song, and a country music classic, “{(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden”, written by Joe South. The lyric was really written from a male perspective, “I could promise you things like big diamond rings” but Anderson made it her own. It became a worldwide hit and in the U.S., it spent five weeks on top of the country music charts and crossed over to the pop charts as well. Lynn was awarded the Best Female Country Vocal Performance Grammy Award, and in 1971, the Country Music Association named her Female Vocalist of the Year.

Her popularity began to fade in the mid 1970s, and in 1980, she released her last recording for Columbia. She took a short break and returned to music, signing with Permian. On this label she released her final Top 10 single, “You're Welcome to Tonight”, a duet with Gary Morris, in 1983.

Unfortunately Lynn had several arrests for driving under the influence, and after her September 2014 arrest in Nashville, she apologized to her fans in a statement saying that she was committed to recovering. In June of 2015, she released the inspirational gospel album ‘Bridges’.

Lynn Anderson was also a horse breeder and an award-winning, lifelong equestrian who became involved in therapeutic horse riding programs for disabled and troubled children.

Canadian country music icon Michelle Wright had this memory of Lynn Anderson " I have been aware of the passing of Lynn Anderson since I got the news like many of us on Friday but I wanted to wait until I got home and could sit down quietly and share this with you. Lynn Anderson was very kind to me. When I moved to Nashville I was waiting for my house to be ready to move into. Lynn generously invited me and my sister, Lori Alexander.and my 2 cats to stay in her beautiful pool house for a month at no charge. She invited us into her home for ...parties and meals and it was simply incredible. If you can imagine, I'm a new artist in town with my first big hit "Take It Like A Man" and I'm walking around Lynn Anderson's home looking at all her awards and pictures and memories of her career on the walls. She loved to have fun and she was so beautiful. I can see her smiling at me right now with open arms and a hug, cheering me on wishing me all the best. Thank you, Miss Anderson, for setting that kind of example for me. It's one of my most cherished memories. May you rest in peace."

She is survived by her father, three children, Lisa Sutton, Melissa Hempel and Gray Stream, four grandchildren and her partner Mentor Williams (brother of Paul Williams) and writer of the classic ‘Drift Away’.

Rest in peace Lynn Anderson, may you walk in a garden of roses for eternity.