Lynn Anderson, “Rose Garden” Hitmaker, Dead at 67

Grammy Winning Vocalist Had Distinguished Career as Recording Artist

Lynn Anderson, who earned a Grammy with her 1970 hit, “Rose Garden,” died Friday (July 31) in Nashville’s Vanderbilt Medical Center at the age of 67.

Lynn Rene Anderson was born Sept. 26, 1947 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, to noted songwriters Liz and Casey Anderson. She grew up in Sacramento, California.

Apart from her considerable achievements as a recording artist, the strikingly attractive Anderson was also an award-winning horsewoman who was crowned California Horse Show Queen in 1966. She continued to compete in equestrian events well after her recording career faded.

Anderson’s first country single, “Ride, Ride, Ride,” came in 1966, followed immediately by her first Top 5 hit, “If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away),” the next year. Both songs were written by her mother.

Her looks and singing talent netted her regular appearances on The Lawrence Welk Show 1967-68.

She had four more Top 10s between her debut and 1970, when “Rose Garden” resulted in her first No. 1 country hit (and one that stayed at the top for five weeks). It also reached No. 3 on the pop chart. She would score five more pop singles between 1970 and 1973, none going higher than No. 63.

The Country Music Association voted Anderson its female vocalist of the year award in 1971.

On the country charts, though, “Rose Garden” was just the start of a long succession of hits that included four more No. 1s — “You’re My Man,” “How Can I Unlove You,” “Keep Me in Mind” and “What a Man My Man Is.”

Three of these songs were written by Glenn Sutton, the producer of “Rose Garden” and Anderson’s husband from1968 to 1977.

Anderson also had seven more Top 10s after “Rose Garden” before her recording career tapered off in the late 1980s. The last of these was a duet with Gary Morris — “You’re Welcome To Tonight” — which went to No. 9 in 1983. Her final chart single, “How Many Hearts,” came in 1989.

In 1993, the Nashville Rose Society named a hybrid tea rose for Anderson and awarded her an honorary membership in the American Rose Society.

During the past decade, Anderson had a series of run-ins with the law over domestic disputes, impaired driving, shoplifting and resisting arrest. She was plagued by recurring bouts of illness, as well.

In June, she released Bridges, a gospel album, and also performed and signed autographs at the CMA Music Festival.

Lynn Anderson CMA

The festival, first known as Fan Fair, was launched in 1972. From the event’s inception, Anderson was absent only one year — because of illness.

Anderson’s talent and spirit have been a major influence on generations of female country singers.

“I am a huge fan of Lynn’s,” Reba McEntire said. “She was always so nice to me. She did so much for the females in country music. Always continuing to pave the road for those to follow. I loved her music and her love for horses. ‘Rose Garden’ was a song I sang in high school in our Kiowa Cowboys High School band. She will be missed.”

“I met Lynn after I did a version of her song ‘Rose Garden’ on my album, Timeless,” Martina McBride said. “She sent me roses and a sweet note. I was honored to share the stage with her at the Grand Ole Opry where we sang a version of ‘Rose Garden’ together. I’ll never forget it. She was always so gracious and sweet to me.”

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.