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'Don't Come Home A-Drinkin'': The Story Behind Loretta Lynn's Bold Song

ASSOCIATED PRESS

In 1967, Loretta Lynn made waves in country music with her unapologetic single, "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)." Released from her studio album of the same name on Decca Records, the tune finds Lynn singing about a man who comes home after a night out on the town with only "lovin'" on the mind. The song was written by Lynn and her sister, Peggy Sue, and some of the inspiration is said to have come from Lynn's own husband, Doolittle, who was known to drink heavily. Overall, Lynn says she wrote what she felt.

"I wasn't trying to change anything," she said in the liner notes for the Honky Tonk Girl box set (quote via udiscovermusic). "I was just singing about how I felt about things. I liked to play around with words. 'Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)' can go both ways. It could be 'Don't Come Home A-Lovin' (With Drinkin' On Your Mind).'"

The song was produced by Owen Bradley and recorded at Bradley's Barn in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, outside Nashville. The tune is an anthem for any woman who has experienced the same thing with a man. Lynn meant for women to relate specifically to the song, but that's not to say that she wanted to insult men in any way. The singer says she simply spoke the truth.

"I like to be on the woman's side, but I like to be on the man's side, too," she continued. "I never went out to put a man down in anything I've ever done. Men sometimes forget about a woman, especially if they drink. Sometimes a woman's gotta say, 'These boots are made for walkin'/One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.'"

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Although the song was bold and controversial at the time, it was a success for the singer/songwriter, becoming her first-ever number one single on the Billboard country chart. The tune was also the catalyst for more success in Lynn's career, including her winning Female Vocalist of the year at the first CMA Awards in 1967. The song also earned a Grammy nomination for Best Country & Western Vocal Performance, Female. Multiple cover versions exist of the song, including covers recorded by Tammy Wynette and Gretchen Wilson.

Not only did "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)" pave a path for Lynn's career success, it also paved the path for more honest songs from her. Among these were 1972's "Rated X," which addressed the stigma around divorced women, and 1975's "The Pill," in which Lynn praised birth control. "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)" is right at home among Lynn's memorable songs and greatest hits, including "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl," "Blue Kentucky Girl," "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)," "Fist City" "Coal Miner's Daughter," "One's On The Way," and many more.

Loretta Lynn - "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)" Lyrics:

Well you thought I'd be waitin' up when you came home last night
You'd been out with all the boys and you ended up half tight
Liquor and love, they just don't mix
Leave that bottle or me behind

And don't come home a drinkin' with lovin' on your mind
No don't come home a drinkin' with lovin' on your mind

Just stay out there on the town and see what you can find
'Cause if you want that kind of love well you don't need none of mine
So don't come home a drinkin' with lovin' on your mind

You never take me anywhere because you're always gone
Many a night I've laid awake and cried dear all alone

Then you come in a kissin' on me it happens every time
So don't come home a drinkin' with lovin' on your mind

No don't come home a drinkin' with lovin' on your mind
Just stay out there on the town and see what you can find
'Cause if you want that kind of love well you don't need none of mine
So don't come home a drinkin' with lovin' on your mind

No don't come home a drinkin' with lovin' on your mind

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'Don't Come Home A-Drinkin'': The Story Behind Loretta Lynn's Bold Song