Country singer Lynn Anderson dies at 67; Grammy winner was known for ‘Rose Garden’

Lynn Anderson attends the 44th Annual Country Music Awards in Nashville in November 2010.

Lynn Anderson attends the 44th Annual Country Music Awards in Nashville in November 2010.

(Evan Agostini / Associated Press)

Lynn Anderson, whose strong, husky voice carried her to the top of the charts with “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden,” has died. She was 67.

A statement from the family said Anderson died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday. Her publicist said the cause of death was cardiac arrest.

Anderson first soaked up the national spotlight as a young singer on “The Lawrence Welk Show” between 1967 and 1969. Although she was signed to an independent label, the exposure helped her nab a deal with Columbia Records in Nashville.


“He was absolutely wholesome,” she said of Welk in a 1987 interview with the Associated Press. “He felt country music was coming into its own and deserved to be on national TV. At that time, I was the only one singing country music on national TV every week.”

And it was “Rose Garden,” written for Anderson by the late Joe South, that sealed her country music legacy, earning her a Grammy and Country Music Association’s female vocalist of the year award in 1971.

“It was popular because it touched on emotions,” she said. “It was perfectly timed. It was out just as we came out of the Vietnam years, and a lot of people were trying to recover.

“This song stated that you can make something out of nothing. You take it and go ahead. It fit me well, and I’ll be proud to be connected to it until I die.”

She made television appearances with such stars as Lucille Ball, Bing Crosby, John Wayne and Tom Jones, and she performed for presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan. She was also in episodes of the TV show “Starsky and Hutch” and in the 1982 TV movie “Country Gold.”

Anderson’s other hits included “Rocky Top,” “You’re My Man,” “How Can I Unlove You,” “What a Man, My Man Is” and “Top of the World” (also recorded by the Carpenters).


She returned briefly to the country Top 10 with a Gary Morris duet in 1983, “You’re Welcome to Tonight.”

Country star Reba McEntire lauded her accomplishments after Anderson’s death was announced.

“She did so much for the females in country music,” McEntire said in a statement. “Always continuing to pave the road for those to follow.”

Dolly Parton also said she’d be missed. “Lynn is blooming on God’s Rose Garden now. We will miss her and remember her fondly,” Parton said in a statement.

Anderson was born Sept. 26, 1947, in Grand Forks, N.D., but raised in Sacramento. The daughter of country songwriters Casey and Liz Anderson, she started performing at 6.

Anderson was an award-winning equestrian as a teenager, voted California Horse Show Queen in 1966.


In her later years, she lived in Taos, N.M., where she faced a number of legal problems. A Taos judge issued a restraining order in 1995 against Anderson after her boyfriend said she had threatened him following the end of their 12-year relationship.

In 2005, Anderson was accused of shoplifting a “Harry Potter” DVD from a Taos supermarket and then punching a police officer as she was being put into a patrol car. She later pleaded no contest to obstructing an officer and was given a conditional discharge, court records show.

The year before, Anderson was arrested on a drunken-driving charge in Texas, the same week she was nominated for a Grammy for a bluegrass album.

She is survived by her father, her partner, Mentor Williams, and her children, Lisa Sutton, Melissa Hempel and Gray Stream.


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