Loretta Lynn “Lorrie” Morgan is one of the few country stars actually born in Nashville.
More to the point, though, her father, George Morgan, was a long-time member of the Grand Ole Opry, a connection that enabled her to grow up around a troupe of famous role models.
It’s only a coincidence, though, that Morgan, who turns 60 on Thursday (June 27), has the same name as “the Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Morgan was born and named in 1959, a year before the other Loretta first surfaced on radio and then on the Opry.
George Morgan, who died in 1975 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998, was best known from bringing smooth pop stylings to such of his country hits as “Candy Kisses,” “Room Full of Roses” and “Almost.” Indeed, he was brought to the Opry after another crooner, Eddy Arnold, departed the show.
Lorrie Morgan made her own Opry debut as a singer when she was 13. She first charted in 1979 with “Two People in Love.” That single made it only to No. 75, and it would be 11 years and four different record labels until she scored her first No. 1 — “Five Minutes” — on RCA.
From 1990 through 1997, she turned out a steady stream of No. 1s and Top 5s, among them “We Both Walk,” “Watch Me,” “Out of Her Shoes,” “He Talks to Me,” “What Part of No,” “Except for Monday,” “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” and “Good As I Was to You.”
Throughout her country successes, it was apparent that Morgan’s voice and nuanced delivery was, like her father’s, also eminently suited to pop music. In 1993, she and Willie Nelson were the only country acts to record with Frank Sinatra on his Duets II album. She and Sinatra paired on the medley “How Do You Keep the Music Playing” and “My Funny Valentine.”
Then, in 1998, with her country hits trailing off, Morgan released a pure pop album, Secret Love, which she dedicated to her father. Even though it gave her no chart traction, it was a tremendously impressive collection. In it, she interpreted 11 classics from the Great American Songbook, including “Once Upon a Time,” “I Wish You Love,” “My Foolish Heart,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and the Sinatra standby, “Fly Me to The Moon.”
As one critic observed, “Secret Love makes a great accompaniment to candlelight and dinner for two.”
Morgan was married to fellow RCA artist Keith Whitley from 1986 until his death from alcohol poisoning in 1989. In 1990, the two were united electronically for the single “’Til a Tear Becomes a Rose,” which won the Country Music Association’s vocal event of the year award.
Morgan continues to tour and to appear on the Grand Ole Opry, where she has been a member since 1984. Her most recent album, a collaboration with Pam Tillis titled Come See Me and Come Lonely, was released in 2017.