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‘Rose Garden’ Singer Lynn Anderson Dies Following Heart Attack

Frederick Breedon, Getty Images

Rose Garden” singer and onetime CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Lynn Anderson has passed away.

Anderson died on Thursday (July 30) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville after suffering a heart attack, Nashville’s The Tennessean newspaper reports. She had recently been hospitalized for pneumonia after a trip to Italy. Lynn was 67 years old.

Born Lynn Rene Anderson in 1947 in Grand Forks, N.D., Anderson was raised in California by parents who were both songwriters; her mother, Liz Anderson, most notably wrote “(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers” and “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” for Merle Haggard.

Anderson made her recording debut in 1966 at age 19 with “For Better or for Worse,” a duet with Jerry Lane. The single did not chart, but subsequent singles including “Ride, Ride, Ride” and “If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away)” brought her to wider attention, along with a two-year stint as a regular on The Lawrence Welk Show in the late ’60s. “Lynn Anderson really helped expand the boundaries of country music because there wasn’t a lot of (it) on network television at that time,” Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs tells The Tennessean.

In 1970 Anderson released “Rose Garden,” which became the defining song of her career. It spent five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Singles chart, and was also a hit in adult contemporary and mainstream pop. She won a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for the recording, and she also took home CMA Female Vocalist of the Year honors in 1971.

She continued to record throughout the 1970s and early ’80s, scoring her final Top 10 hit, “You’re Welcome to Tonight,” in 1983. She recorded sporadically after that, but devoted much of her time to her lifelong love of horses, becoming involved in therapeutic horse riding programs for children.

In later years Anderson made headlines with a series of run-ins with law enforcement, including drunk driving arrests in 2004 and 2006. In 2005 she was accused of shoplifting a Harry Potter DVD and charged with resisting arrest after reportedly punching the arresting officer. In 2014 she was arrested and charged with a DUI after a minor traffic accident in Nashville, issuing a statement apologizing for the incident. “By the grace of God, I am very grateful that no one was injured as a result,” she said. “I am committed to the accountable steps that I will be facing on the road to recovery and am deeply sorry for anyone that I have harmed along this path.”

Anderson is survived by her father and three children. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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