How Loretta Lynn Turned a Banned Song Into a Huge Career Hit

Lynn didn’t see the point of the controversy.

“It’s just a wife arguin’ with her husband,” she pointed out. “The wife is sayin’, ‘You’ve kept me barefoot and pregnant all these years while you’ve been slippin’ around. Now you straighten out or I’ll start, now that I have the pill.’”

“It’s a husband and wife, not two unmarried people, so that’s not dirty,” she added.

Released at the height of the sexual revolution and in the era of fierce debate over the equal rights amendment, “The Pill” didn’t suffer too much from its ban. People reported it was selling 15,000 copies per week even without airplay from those stations. “The Pill” reached No. 5 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, and it crossed over to become Lynn’s biggest pop hit, charting at No. 70 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has gone on to become one of Lynn’s most enduring tracks, and it wasn’t the only example of Lynn sticking to her guns; in fact, she said she would quit the Grand Ole Opry over the possibility they might ban her from performing “The Pill” there.

Lynn would go on to have a total of 14 songs banned over the course of her career, due to the way she repeatedly challenged the norms of the country genre. Many of them are among her biggest hits, demonstrating that sometimes the public gets it right even when the music business doesn’t.

READ ALSO: The Strange Story of Loretta Lynn’s Haunted Hurricane Mills Mansion


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