“Van Lear Rose” by Loretta Lynn
As the story goes, the titular “Van Lear Rose” is a nickname that Loretta Lynn’s dad, one Ted Webb, had for her mother, whose name was Clara Marie. The “Van Lear” part of that moniker is actually a shoutout to the community where Loretta grew up, as in the locality where Ted and Clara met. And the “rose” part is symbolic of the affection and physical admiration the former had for the latter.
So to make a long story short, as presented Clara was akin to the prettiest girl in Van Lear – so much so that guys around deduced that she could have any man she wanted, and many threw their hats into the arena.
Moreover, simple logic would dictate that she would go for one of the rich ones. But instead, she ended up falling for “this poor boy [who] caught her eye”, someone who others figured didn’t have a chance, which ended up being Ted. And that victory is something that he remained proud of throughout the years, as Webb would at times “pull out (an) old photograph” of Clara and recount the tale of how he won her to Loretta.
So it has been ascertained by those in the know that all of this is meant to serve as an ode to Clara’s beauty. She is someone whom Loretta has described as actually being prettier than herself and whose looks she envied. And truth be told, it’s rare that you come across a lady who claims that her mother is more beautiful than she is.
Also to note, even though it is not pointed out in the lyrics, Clara Webb was, in part, Native American. So by all means she had very distinct looks. And even though she passed away in 1981, with this song being released over two decades it is obvious that her looks is also one of the things that Loretta remembered about her mother the most.
Loretta Lynn (1932-2022) was one of the most-recognizable names in American country music. This is understandable, considering that the songstress had been successful in that genre over the span of seven decades.
For instance, “Van Lear Rose” is a studio album she came out with on 27 April 2004, her 42nd overall, with Loretta being in her seventies at the time. But it still topped the UK Country Albums chart and reached 2nd place on Billboard’s Top Country Albums listing. This is in addition to taking home a couple of Grammy awards. And its title track, despite not being issued as a single, is considered by some to be an amazing work of lyricism.
Credits for “Van Lear Rose”
This song was written by Loretta Lynn, with its producer notably being Jack White. White is a musician who’s over 30 years her junior and is largely known as part of a now-defunct rock duo called The White Stripes.
The “Van Lear Rose” album, which is the only in Loretta Lynn’s lengthy discography that was backed by Interscope Records, was pulled from streaming and digital services in early 2021. By the looks of things remains so even as of this writing, almost two years later.
The White Stripes’ Jack White performed his version on Peel Session, which was recorded 30 January, 2004.
American artist Kayla Michelle uploaded her live performance on YouTube in 2009.
Words From the Late Singer’s Fans
Shortly after the death of Loretta Lynn, fans returned to streaming sites such as YouTube to listen to her songs again. Many poured out heartfelt messages, sharing their fondest memories behind “Van Lear Rose”.
One fan shared how she was inspired by Loretta to become a songwriter herself after seeing her perform live at the War Memorial in Rochester, New York. She expressed how her influence and music got her through life’s tough times as well.
Another fan, an African American female, commented that she became a fan of Loretta when she was at the age of 14, after watching “Coal Miner’s Daughter”. Despite being teased by her friends for her taste of music, she continued being a fan.
“Van Lear Rose” has also been a song that reminded fans of their loved ones, offering them comfort after having lost them.
Years prior to Loretta’s death, a fan expressed how he had an extreme dislike for country music, growing up. That is, until he heard Loretta’s “Van Lear Rose”, which instantly changed his perception.