Lynn Anderson knew a great song when she heard it, and when she heard Joe South’s “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden” she knew instinctively she had to record it.

The rest is history—literally—less than two months after its release, her instinct paid off… in roses. The album became Lynn’s second #1 LP, and its title single would go on to become nothing less than a global phenomenon, exploding to the top of the country and pop charts, and capturing the #1 spot in more than sixteen countries worldwide, making ‘Rose Garden’ one of the most successful songs ever recorded by a female country artist.


Lynn Anderson was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, however, she was raised in Fair Oaks, California.[3] She was the daughter of country music songwriters Casey and Liz Anderson.[1] Lynn Anderson's great-grandfather was born in Aremark, Norway.[4] In later life, Anderson met her Norwegian relatives through the Norwegian TV series Tore på sporet.[3]

Anderson became interested in singing at age six. She had her first success in the horse show arena in and around California, where she eventually won a total of 700 trophies,[5] including the "California Horse Show Queen" title in 1966. In her teens, she performed regularly on the local television program Country Caravan.[3]

In 1965, she was working as a secretary at Top 40 radio station KROY in Sacramento, California, when one of her mother's compositions, "(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers", was recorded by Merle Haggard and became a No. 10 country hit.[3] Her mother signed with RCA Victor as a country music recording artist that year.[1] While accompanying her mother to Nashville, Anderson participated in an informal sing-along in a hotel room with country stars Merle Haggard and Freddie Hart. One of the people present at the sing-along, Slim Williamson, owned Chart Records, a local record label. Williamson recognized Lynn Anderson's talent and invited her to record for his label. She began recording for Chart in 1966.[3]

In 1966, Lynn Anderson released her debut single, "For Better or for Worse", a duet with Jerry Lane which did not chart. Her first charting single and her third release on the Chart Label, "Ride, Ride, Ride", hit the Country Top 40.[5] She had her first major hit single, "If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away)", the following year. It peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard country chart. It was followed by another Top 5 hit, "Promises, Promises",[1] from an album of the same name, which spawned a second Top 10 hit, "No Another Time", in 1968. Then she released "Mother May I", a Top 25 duet that she recorded with her mother. (The elder Anderson also achieved success as a country artist around the same time, achieving two Top 10 hits—"Mama Spank" (1966) and a trio with Bobby Bare and Norma Jean, "The Game of Triangles" (1967).)

In 1967, Lynn Anderson became a regular performer on The Lawrence Welk Show[3] and toured with the Welk Road Show. Her appearances on the show later redounded to her benefit. Because of the Welk show's widespread appeal, she achieved success on the pop charts. In 1969, as her popularity grew, she left the Welk show in favor of sporadic guest appearances (Clay Hart ultimately took Anderson's place in the Welk "musical family").[3] In 1968, Anderson married songwriter and producer Glenn Sutton, who later produced and wrote many of her records during her tenure with Columbia. Their marriage lasted nine years.[5] Anderson released her biggest hit single under the Chart label, "That's a No No",[1] which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Country Chart in 1969. Soon after, she left the label; signing with Columbia Records in 1970.[5] Chart Records continued to release Lynn Anderson singles through the end of 1971, including five Top 20 hits: "He'd Still Love Me", "I've Been Everywhere", "Rocky Top", "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" and "I'm Alright".[6]

After signing with Columbia in 1970, Anderson released the Joe South song, "(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden", which became a major crossover pop hit in 1970 and early 1971.[1] The song was produced by her then husband Glenn Sutton. Anderson actually had to do some arm-twisting to get her producer-husband to allow her to record the song. Sutton was concerned that "Rose Garden" was a song to be sung by a man, with the line "I could promise you things like big diamond rings". It was Columbia executive Clive Davis who determined the song would be Anderson's next single released.[7] The single peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard country chart and No. 3 on the Billboard pop chart, becoming an international success.[1] In the United Kingdom, the single reached No. 3[8] and in Germany it peaked at No. 1 and stayed there for four weeks.[9] The album Rose Garden was released in 1971 and was also hugely successful, receiving platinum certification by the RIAA.[10] Anderson won the Academy of Country Music's "Top Female Vocalist" Award and the Country Music Association's "Female Vocalist of the Year" Award in 1970 and 1971, respectively. In addition, she won a Grammy Award.[11] Lynn Anderson had two No. 1 hit singles on the Billboard country chart in 1971 with "You're My Man" and "How Can I Unlove You",[1] both peaking at No. 63 on the Billboard pop chart. In 1972, Anderson had three Top 5 hits on the country charts, beginning with a cover version of the 50s pop hit, "Cry", followed by "Listen to a Country Song" and "Fool Me".[5] These songs were included on the Listen to a Country Song album. "Cry" peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard magazine country chart and at No. 16 on the Adult Contemporary chart. In 1973, she had a fourth No. 1 country hit with "Keep Me in Mind", and an album of the same name was released. Then followed a second 1973 album, Top of the World, whose title track was a No. 2 country hit. It was also a No. 1 pop hit for The Carpenters that same year. However, Anderson's version was the first to be released as a single and become a hit. The second single released from the Top of the World album, "Sing About Love", also peaked at No. 3. In 1974, "What a Man My Man Is" was Anderson's fifth No. 1 country hit. That same year, she also won the American Music Awards' "Favorite Female Country Artist" Award.

Throughout the 1970s, Anderson made frequent guest appearances on many television specials, talk shows and variety shows. Because of her crossover appeal, she often appeared on shows where country artists were not regularly seen. At the height of the show's popularity, she had a starring role in an episode of Starsky & Hutch. She made several appearances on The Tonight Show, and appeared on three Bob Hope television specials. Anderson frequently guest-starred on various Dean Martin television specials. She also hosted her own television special in 1977, with guest star Tina Turner. In 1979, Anderson performed live at the Ford Theatre in Washington, D.C., included in the audience was President Jimmy Carter.[6]

Anderson's success slowed down toward the end of the 1970s.[11] She continued making appearances on the country charts every year for the rest of the decade.[1] Anderson hit the Top 20 with two from her I've Never Loved Anyone More album in 1975: "He Turns it into Love Again" and the title track. She had a Top 20 hit with "All the King's Horses" in 1976 from an album of the same name. In 1977, Wrap Your Love All Around Your Man, partly due to its promotion on the television series Starsky & Hutch, became a major hit. In 1979, she had her first Top 10 hit since 1974 with "Isn't It Always Love" [1] from her album Outlaw is Just a State of Mind. The album also produced the Top 20 hit, "I Love How You Love Me" and the Top 40 hit "Sea of Heartbreak". In 1980, she recorded her final album for Columbia, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, which featured two Top 30 hits. Following her separation from Columbia she did not record for nearly three years.[12]

After three years away from recording, Anderson signed with the Permian Records label in 1983, and had a Top 10 country hit with "You're Welcome to Tonight", a duet with Gary Morris [5] At Permian, she recorded Back, her first studio album since 1980. The album's first single, "You Can't Lose What You Never Had", peaked outside the Top 40, but the second single, "What I've Learned from Loving You", was a Top 20 hit. She left Permian in 1984. In 1986, she recorded "Fools for Each Other", a duet with Ed Bruce, which was included on his Night Things album. The single peaked just at number 49.[13]

That same year, Anderson recorded a single for MCA Records. In 1986, she signed with Mercury Records, which produced one album, What She Does Best, and five singles that were minor hits on the Billboard country chart in the late 1980s.[5] She had two Top 40 hit singles with MCA—"Read Between the Lines" and a cover version of The Drifters' "Under the Boardwalk", which hit Top 25 country in 1988. In 1989, Anderson released her last charting single to date with "How Many Hearts", which peaked at No. 69.[14]

In 1990, Anderson starred as singer Betsy Hall in the BBC Scotland TV drama The Wreck on the Highway. She performed the song "Dream On" in the film, which consequently became a minor hit in a BBC collection of country standards. In 1992, she recorded a new studio album titled Cowboy's Sweetheart, released by Laselight Records.[11] Emmylou Harris and Marty Stuart appeared as guest performers on the album.[6] During the same time, the American Rose Society created a hybrid tea rose and named it the "Lynn Anderson"[2] Anderson did not record any studio albums for the rest of the decade and became more focused on touring and performing, as well as non-musical projects. In 1999, she was inducted into the North American Country Music Association's International Hall of Fame.[15]

In 2000, Tennessee governor Don Sundquist made June 15 "Lynn Anderson Day" throughout the state. Anderson produced a TNN special, "American Country Cowboys," which helped handicapped groups also during this time.[2]

In 2002, Anderson was ranked at No. 29 on CMT's television special of the 40 Greatest Women of Country Music. In 2000, she recorded a live album titled, Live at Billy Bob's Texas.[1]

In 2004, she recorded her first studio album in 12 years, The Bluegrass Sessions, a Bluegrass album that consisted of Anderson's major hits from the 1960s and 1970s re-recorded in a Bluegrass format.[5] The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2005, along with Ricky Skaggs' album Brand New Strings, Ralph Stanley II's Carrying on, as well as a multi-artist album.[16]

In 2005, she performed on the Grand Ole Opry with country singer, Martina McBride, performing a duet version of "(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden."[17]

In June 2007, she performed as part of the CMA's 2007 Music Festival in Nashville. She performed an outdoor concert at the Riverfront Park area, which also included concerts by Aaron Tippin and Jason Michael Carroll.[18]

In April 2009, Anderson was part of the concert line-up at the annual Stagecoach Festival in Palm Springs, which also included concerts by Charlie DanielsKevin Costner, and Reba McEntire. Throughout 2010 and 2011, she performed a series of concerts backed by the Metropole Symphony Orchestra. Until the end of her life, Anderson remained a popular concert attraction; regularly headlining casino showrooms, performing arts centers and theatres throughout the United States and Canada.

In 2015, Anderson signed with Center Sound Records to release a new country gospel album, Bridges. The album featured a gospel version of the Mentor Williams-penned hit "Drift Away", with new lyrics by the writer. It also contained vocal collaborations of Anderson with The Martins and Country Music Hall of Fame members The Oak Ridge Boys. The album was released on June 9, 2015, as both digital download and vinyl 45.[19]

Lynn Anderson (Se p t e m b e r 26, 1947–Ju ly 30, 2015) to perform on variety shows, national telethons, highprofile benefits, talk shows, and even prime-time dramas. In addition to being a favorite of Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, Anderson was featured on many of the highestrated and best-loved TV programs of her time, including The Ed Sullivan Show, The Kraft Music Hall, The Dean Martin Show, This Is Tom Jones, Midnight Special, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, The Carol Burnett Show, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, Hollywood Squares, The Dinah Shore Show, Solid Gold, Good Morning America, People’s Choice Awards, American Music Awards, Grammy Awards, and three Bob Hope Specials. Anderson even starred in her own CBS special, with Tina Turner as a guest. She also acted in an episode of the top-rated series Starsky & Hutch, in an NBC Movie of the Week, Country Gold, and starred in the BBC drama, The Wreck on the Highway. Her popularity on television began early in her career, as a cast member of The Lawrence Welk Show. At the time, she became the only country artist featured weekly on a national telecast. Lynn Anderson spent her youth in California, and as a teen she entered and won a singing contest in Sacramento that once featured Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. By time she turned 20, she was a star on television, had been recording for three years, and had scored a series of country hits, including “That’s a No No,” “Promises, Promises,” “I’ve Been Everywhere,” and “Rocky Top.” In 1970, Anderson made a fortuitous move to Nashville and signed with Columbia Records. Working with husband/ producer Glenn Sutton, a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the singer turned out a steady stream of hits. But it was her one-of-a-kind take on Joe South’s “Rose Garden” that propelled her to superstar status. The hit topped both the country and pop charts and made Anderson an international star of the top order. For 27 years, it stood as the biggest-selling recording by a female country artist. Proof of her staying power as an artist followed: “Cry,” “How Can’t I Unlove You,” “Keep Me in Mind,” “You’re My Man,” “Man What a Man My Man Is,” “Listen to a Country Song,” “Fool Me,” and “Top of the World” all went to number one on the charts. In all, Anderson scored a remarkable 11 Number One records, 18 Top Ten records, and more than 50 Top Forty records. The recording industry rewarded her success by naming her CMA Female Vocalist of the Year and ACM Female Vocalist of the Year (twice). She earned a prestigious Grammy Award, as well as an American Music Award for Female Vocalist of the Year. Lynn repeatedly delivered chart topping songs and was named Record World’s Artist of the Decade and became Billboard’s Artist of the Decade for the 70s. Anderson blazed trails in other fields as well. She maintained an equestrian career as a competitor with cutting horses and show horses from the 1960s until her death. As a horsewoman, she won 16 national, eight world, and several celebrity championships. Her notable championships included becoming the National Chevy Truck Cutting Horse Champion in 1999, the American U.S. Open Invitational Champion in 2000, and the National Cutting Horse Association Champion in 1999. She also raised horses at her ranch in New Mexico and worked with the Special Riders of Animaland, a horsebackriding therapy program for children. Lynn Anderson died on July 30, 2015, of a heart attack while battling pneumonia at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her memory will live on forever as generations sing along with the radio. Come along and share the good times while we can. ✦ Lisa Sutton (615) 429-3201 • LYNN ANDERSON Honors, Awards & Achievements - Equestrian, Western Music & Mainstream Country ▪ 1959 ▪ 1960s ▪ 1965 ▪ 1966 ▪ 1971 ▪ 1971 ▪ 1971 ▪ 1974 ▪ 1974 ▪ 1980 ▪ 1993 ▪ 2000 ▪ 2000 ▪ 2007 ▪ 2007 ▪ 2007 ▪ 2007 ▪ 2007 ▪ 2008 ▪ 2017 ▪ 2018 ▪ 2019 ▪ 2019 ▪ 2020 Cow Palace - Reserve World Champion in Western Horsemanship (age 12) California Horse Association - Region 3 Youth Championship (42 times) California State Fair - "California Horse Show Queen" Sacramento Sheriff's Posse Queen The Tonight Show -FIRST female country singer appearance Grammy Award - Best Country Vocal Performance (Female) Country Music Association (CMA) - Female Vocalist of the Year American Music Award (AMA) - Favorite Female Artist (Country) Madison Square Garden - FIRST female country singer to Headline & Sell Out Billboard World - Artist of the Decade (1970-80) American Rose Society - creates hybrid tea rose named "The Lynn Anderson" Cowboy Spirit Award - nominated & presented by Dale Evans Lynn Anderson Day in Tennessee (June 15) - proclaimed by Gov. Don Sundquist Western Heritage Award - Outstanding New Artist Western Music Association - Best Female Artist Western Music Association - Best Western Swing CD American Western Association - Best Western CD American Western Association - Best Western Song Cowboy Hall of Fame - Wrangler Award Lifestyle Exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame Hall of Great Western Performers, Western Heritage Museum & Cowboy Hall of Fame Grand Opening of the Lynn Anderson Rose Garden at Woodlawn, Nashville, TN Induction into the IWMA Western Music Hall of Fame MCAS Rose Garden Marine Reunion, Nashville, TN and we'll celebrate the 50th Anniversary of "Rose Garden" on Lynn Anderson Day!

Anderson died on July 30, 2015, at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, from a heart attack at the age of 67. She had been briefly hospitalized due to pneumonia after vacationing in Italy.[30] She is buried at Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Nashville near her mother and father. In 2018, Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery, often referred to as "Cemetery of Country Stars," created "The Lynn Anderson Rose Garden," consisting of 200 Lynn Anderson Hybrid Rose Bushes (named for the singer by the National Rose Society of America), as a place of reflection and meditation, in honor of Anderson's signature song.[31]

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