Loretta Lynn died on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tenn, and although the storied country legend is gone, her music will live on beyond her.
The 90-year-old icon’s representative catalog features 50 albums spanning six decades, and among these albums are many honest — and sometimes controversial — songs she penned throughout her career.
Lynn’s no-holds-barred songwriting style opened doors for generations of artists to say what they think, but as an artist writing about raw, real-life topics in the 1960s and ’70s, she sometimes took some heat. Attention-grabbing tunes like “The Pill” and “Rated X” are prime examples of this, and some of these songs were considered so risqué that they were even banned from radio airplay.
Despite the disapproval of some country fans and radio deejays, many of these songs went on to become major hits and essential tunes for Lynn.
The subjects she covered in her “controversial” songs range from infidelity, to divorce and even contraception, and since she was writing from her own life and perspective, they almost are largely issues experienced by women. Lynn also sang about these tough subject in a humorous way, which only aided in the songs’ storytelling ability.
Loretta Lynn wasn’t simply writing these songs for attention, either — she was truly writing what she felt and what she thought needed to be said. She shared more about her controversial songs in a 2021 interview with Parade.
“Risk taker, no, I just write what I feel, what is going on with me and my life,” she said at the time. “It just happened that a lot of other women felt the same. I would never set out to write something just for it to shock someone; I am not that clever. It’s always been about truth and if that means radio wants to ban it, well that’s their problem. Most of my records they banned became No. 1 anyway.”
Click next page to learn about some of Lynn’s most controversial songs, including some that were banned from radio.