Meet Loretta Lynn’s Musical Siblings

Since Loretta Lynn sang her way into fans’ hearts with “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” in 1960, she’s remained one of country music’s most revered songwriters, blazing a trail for many artists to follow. Among those people who have followed in her footsteps are her siblings. Lynn was one of eight children born to mother Clara and father Ted in the rural town of Butcher Holler, Kentucky. The famed “Coal Miner’s Daughter” passed away in 2022 at the age of 90, her legacy living on not just in her catalog, but the music made by her siblings. Though older brother Melvin Webb and younger siblings Herman Webb and Betty Hopkins didn’t embark on a music career, her other siblings were involved in the industry. Get to know Lynn’s musical siblings below.

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Crystal Gayle

Like her older sister, Crystal Gayle has carved out an impressive career in country music. Gayle found major success in the 1970s, particularly with her signature hit “Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” which hit No. 1 on the country charts and No. 2 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100. It also earned her first Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Among Gayle’s other career-defining hits are “Talking in Your Sleep” and “Half the Way,” along with 26 studio albums thus far. Like sister Loretta, Gayle is regarded as a country music legend, particularly for being one of the forebearers of country pop.

Peggy Sue Wright

Peggy Sue Wright falls in the middle of sisters Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle. Following their father’s death in 1959, the Lynn siblings formed a troupe and performed around Wabash, Indiana, where they were living at the time. Wright had her first taste of success in music by co-writing one of Lynn’s signature hits “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind).” She later launched her own career in 1969 after signing a deal with Decca Records and released her debut single, “I’m Dynamite,” which reached the Top 30 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Throughout the 1970s, Wright released several singles, with “I’m Gettin’ Tired of Babyin’ You” cracking the Top 30. Since 1986, she’s served as a backup singer and costume designer for Gayle.

[RELATED: 3 Songs You Didn’t Know Loretta Lynn Wrote with Her Sister Peggy Sue]

Jay Lee Webb

Loretta Lynn was a guiding force in her brother Jay Lee Webb’s life in more ways than one. In addition to being his older sister, she also helped him score a record deal and co-writing credits on some of her albums including Fist City in 1968 and Love is the Foundation in 1973. Webb got his start in music when he followed his sister and her husband Oliver Dolittle to Washington state where he performed in local bars as part of his sister’s band. He later signed to Sun Records, with a focus on gospel music.

He can be heard playing guitar on many of Lynn’s records and recorded an album after his sister helped get him a record deal with Vocalion Records in 1961. He found brief success as a solo artist with “I Come Home A-Drinkin’ (To a Worn-Out Wife Like You),” a response song to his sister’s hit “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind),” which reached the Top 40 on the country chart. He passed away in 1996 at the age of 59 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Donald Ray Webb

Though Donald Ray Webb wasn’t an artist, he can claim the title of songwriter. He is the sole writer of the deep cut “Clock on the Wall” featured on his sister Crystal Gayle’s 1978 compilation album, I’ve Cried the Blue Right Out of My Eyes (the title track was written by their sister Loretta Lynn). Webb passed away in 2017 at the age of 76. “He was very proud of the fact that he was a recorded songwriter,” according to his obituary.

Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Americana Music

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