Music

How Loretta Lynn's 'The Pill' Shook Up Country Radio

AP Photo/Mary Jo Walicki

Loretta Lynn, Lorene Allen, Don McHan, and T. D. Bayless had written a little country song called 'The Pill' in 1972, but the song would not be published until 1975. When it was published, it would be cause quite the ruckus in the conservative country music scene and get banned from playing on country radio stations.

In 1975, birth control had been available to the public for almost a decade. The song's release brought praise to Lynn by doctors who had been trying to promote the birth control pill for so many years. Lynn's song was such a "hush-hush" topic that she actually helped get the word out to many women in rural areas.

While the mid-'70s weren't the beginning of the sexual or feminist revolutions, Lynn's song sure did fit the mold of the times. This song told the story many married women, including Lynn, knew all too well: when they were just a kid themselves, they started having kids and were bound to the life of being stuck at home with a baby on their hip. Not only did men never have to experience this motherhood sentence, but they also didn't want their wives thinking they had control of their own lives. 'The Pill' was adding to the conversation that women were equal- in their sex lives and in other places as well.

Read More: The Meaning Behind Loretta Lynn's 'You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)'

Lynn was a frequent player of The Grand Ole Opry; she reminisced on 'The Pill' during an interview with Playgirl magazine, "You know I sung it three times at the Grand Ole Opry one night, and I found out a week later that the Grand Ole Opry had a three-hour meeting, and they weren't going to let me. If they hadn't let me sing the song, I'd have told them to shove the Grand Ole Opry!"

Due to it being seen as controversial, the song had been banned from playing on many radio playlists, which prevented it from reaching the top of the charts. Thankfully, controversy spikes curiosity. Record sales eventually boosted, and the song became Lynn's highest-charting solo single. The song reached the No. 70 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the first popular song about birth control.

Loretta Lynn's other hit singles include 'Fist City,' 'Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind),' Coal Miner's Daughter,' and 'You Ain't Woman Enough.'

'The Pill' lyrics:

You wined me and dined me
When I was your girl
Promised if I'd be your wife
You'd show me the world
But all I've seen of this old world
Is a bed and a doctor bill
I'm tearin' down your brooder house
'Cause now I've got the pill

All these years I've stayed at home
While you had all your fun
And every year that's gone by
Another baby's come
There's a gonna be some changes made
Right here on nursery hill
You've set this chicken your last time
'Cause now I've got the pill

This old maternity dress I've got
Is goin' in the garbage
The clothes I'm wearin' from now on
Won't take up so much yardage
Miniskirts, hot pants and a few little fancy frills
Yeah I'm makin' up for all those years
Since I've got the pill

I'm tired of all your crowin'
How you and your hens play
While holdin' a couple in my arms
Another's on the way
This chicken's done tore up her nest
And I'm ready to make a deal
And ya can't afford to turn it down
'Cause you know I've got the pill

This incubator is overused
Because you've kept it filled
The feelin' good comes easy now
Since I've got the pill
It's gettin' dark it's roostin' time
Tonight's too good to be real
Oh, but daddy don't you worry none
'Cause mama's got the pill
Oh, daddy don't you worry none
'Cause mama's got the pill

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How Loretta Lynn's 'The Pill' Shook Up Country Radio