The Year in Music 2022: Country says goodbye to Loretta, Naomi, Alabama’s Jeff Cook and more

While there were plenty of happy moments in country music in 2022, we also collectively mourned some beloved artists.

In October, the iconic Loretta Lynn passed away peacefully at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee at age 90. The Coal Miner’s Daughter helped pave the way for women in country music, writing and singing songs that tackled infidelity, motherhood, divorce, and alcoholism. 

April brought the year’s most heartbreaking loss, as Naomi Judd took her own life at age 76, after years of mental illness and just one day before she and daughter Wynonna were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. At the time, the duo was preparing for their Farewell Tour, which Wy continued on her own, with the help of a who’s who of artists like Faith HillTrisha YearwoodLittle Big Town and more. The trek continues into next year.

Right before the CMA Awards in November, we lost Jeff Cook of the legendary country group Alabama at age 73. After winning Vocal Group of the Year, Old Dominion‘s Matthew Ramsey remembered the legendary guitarist and fiddle player during his acceptance speech.

Another country great we lost in 2022 is Mickey Gilley at age 86, one of the men who helped create the Urban Cowboy movement, which took country music to a whole new audience in the eighties.

We also lost Mickey’s cousin, Jerry Lee Lewis, aged 87, the legendary rocker who also had nearly thirty top ten country hits. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame just days before his passing. 

In August, the world mourned the passing of Olivia Newton-John, aged 73, who broke through with a string of country hits and won both CMA and ACM awards in the seventies, prior to her massive success in the pop world and the movies, most notably in the film version of the musical Grease.

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