Like so many great country-music stories, the first meeting between Carrie Underwood and Loretta Lynn took place backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. Unlike so many great country-music stories, this one actually begins with a friendly slap on the rump.
“I was chatting in the corner with another artist and someone walked behind me and smacked me on the rear end!” Underwood wrote in an Instagram post remembering Lynn, who died on Tuesday at the age of 90. “I turned around and there she was…in a big sparkly dress…laughing as she continued to walk down the hall at what she had just done…”
More from Rolling Stone
“This is one of my most favorite stories to tell,” Underwood added. “I think it sums up her personality pretty well. She was a cantankerous little pistol…friendly and sweet…never afraid to be herself and speak her mind.”
Her influence has been evident in Underwood’s work, from the feisty, forthright anthems like “Before He Cheats” and “Cowboy Casanova” to the topical work around domestic violence she covered in “Blown Away.”
Eventually, Underwood would sing for Lynn, covering “You’re Lookin’ at Country” on the 2010 Coal Miner’s Daughter tribute album. More recently, she’d get to sing with the legend, joining Reba McEntire and Lynn on the title track of what would be her final studio album, Still Woman Enough, in 2021.
“She is irreplaceable. She will be incredibly missed…but her legacy lives on in those of us whom she has influenced,” Underwood wrote. “I am truly grateful to have known such an amazing woman and artist. Thank you, Loretta, for showing us how it’s done.”
Best of Rolling Stone