Lynn Anderson September 26, 1947 – July 30, 2015

By John McEuen

It was at 35,000 feet we met, paths crossing unexpectedly for both of us. Married we were, happily, not to each other.

Just a man and woman talking about life and the curves in that road that one does not expect, but you somehow know it is the curves that make even the straight road more interesting. We talked about the country, the people in it, travel, and politics somewhat, and realized we had a lot in common.

lynda_andersonFinally, after about 2 hours, she said, “I wonder where we are?” I raised the window shade, looked out, and said “Lubbock” and put it back down.

She laughed and commented that ‘that’s a good bit…” but I assured her it was Lock, and said that although I thought it was funny, I didn’t really think it was funny in a way, as I spent more time up there at times than with my family it seemed, and it was easy to see Midland/Odessa south of Amarillo off to the left, and the lights of Lubbock right below us. It looked like a giant Rand-McNally laid out below us.

That is when she commented that ‘you must travel A LOT!” and I said yes, because I was in the music business, and worked the country I flew a lot. She said she did too…. Hmmm. She wondered if I was in a group, and I said yes, and we do about 180 cities a year. She said she was a singer, and did about the same.

That was when the pilot came on and said (I had asked the stewardess to ask the pilot where we were, as my new friend did not believe me) “we just passed over Lubbock, Texas, out of the right side of the plane”. We laughed and asked for some snacks, as we could tell this conversation was getting more fun.

“So, you must make records then… think I have heard any of them?” I mentioned she might have heard Mr. Bojangles, and that I played mandolin on it. “Of course I have! But.. that was by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band… did you play on their record?”

And I informed her I was a founding member of the group and we were playing soon where we were headed (I now can’t remember where we were headed. “Whoa… you are in the band, and .. well.. how nice.”

So I mentioned she had said she was a singer, and asked, “Have you done anything you think I might have heard” “Well, one single was called I Never Promised You a Rose Garden…you might have heard that”. I mentioned well, of course I had, and that it was a big record, and…it was by Lynn Anderson.

“Yes .. it did over 7 million copies as a single.”

She told me that it was exactly like that, because it was her record, and that her name was Lynn Anderson. So now, about 2 ½ hours in to the flight, we met again.

That was Lynn, talking about horses (she was a great horsewoman), living in Louisiana, music in general, loving to sing, life, love, her husband, and the pursuit of living. Not about stardom. I was talking about kids, things.. well..

We both now had new common ground to dig in to, and that covered the next two hours till we landed. That started a trusting friendship that, although periodic, was one where we told each other a few things shared only with certain non-judgmental friends.

One of the best nights it led to was when I called her while she was married (at that time) to a man that owned about ¼ of Lake Charles, La., and asked if she’d want to throw a party in a couple of days – for the NGDB and Little River Band (NGDB was doing about 23 dates with them that year, and would be in her town in 2 days).

Their ‘house’ was on about 12 acres, two blocks from downtown. Her quick ‘yes’ was followed by ‘call back tomorrow and I’ll fill you in”.

Her husband got on the phone to ask where we were staying. I told him the Sheraton, and he said “Oh, that place.. yeah, I used to own it, but sold when that refinery across the way there made it smell so bad. But, I own the refinery too, and it makes more money anyway..”

By the next day she had arranged barbeque Cajun style, moonshine, horses to ride, music to play, some rides to the ranch. We all came over after the concert to what looked like Tara in the good years, to take that night in to cockcrow.

Little River Band and NGDB had a great night of Southern Hospitality at its best. That was Lynn Anderson. Everyone will miss her. She was a fine woman, horsewoman, person, and singer and touched a lot of lives.

 


Selected discography

Main article: Lynn Anderson discography
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