But as it turns out, she’s had some strong opinions on the genre for quite some time now. She was interviewed by Charlie Rose in 1997 to promote her gospel album, All Time Gospel Favorites, where they got into some of her personal life because of the fact that her husband and manager, Doolittle, had passed away just a year prior.
They talked a little bit about the relationship between Loretta and “Doo,” as she referred to him, and she joked that there was a line about him in just about every song she wrote. He had a reputation for cheating, and at times they had a pretty tumultuous relationship. She has also spoken about that publicly and extensively over the years.
When Rose prodded her about her songwriting style and how she wrote music for “strong women” (mainly due to everything she went through with her husband), she aptly and humorously noted:
“This is what’s wrong with the music business today, they are signin’ ‘do-la-la-la’, you know? Who’s gonna remember that stuff? Not me. Are you?
You’re gonna remember ‘Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin On Your Mind).’”
That song was her very first number one hit and written about her husband coming home after late nights out drinking.
Loretta has more than 20 number one singles under her belt and is one of the most recognizable and influential artists to ever be in country music, so I think she’s more than qualified to give her two cents on the matter.
She goes on to say she refused to water down her writing for any person or record label,
“This is what I said: if they want me to write, they’re gonna have to take it like I write, because that’s the way I write.”
I love it. Straight to the point and she makes no bones about it. And that’s what made her a star. She’s so real and down to earth, and she never compromised who she was to fit any sort of standard or expectation.
The best part of the interview comes when Rose asks her what has happened to country music and why it took the direction that it did. Remember, this was almost 25 years ago and I swear if you heard it in the context of today’s radio situation you wouldn’t think twice:
“You know, I don’t know. I’m gettin’ so tired of seeing videos, cowboy hats and pick-up trucks. I’ve been in enough of them pick-up trucks.”
You and me both, Loretta. Except we’re almost 25 years out from this interview…. it’s just comical, really:
“I went into Nashville myself lookin’ like Annie Oakley, so I don’t know why they’re just bringing it back today. They think it’s something new. And I went into Nashville with a hat, boots, fringe skirt, the whole deal. So it ain’t nothin’ new.”
Gosh I just love her. She really was (and still is) ahead of her time.
And although it seems like her opinions on country music, mainly country radio, haven’t changed, at least we still have her here to keep it real and and call out the people who need it most.
You can watch the entire interview here:
And of course, her singing her hit “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin'” featuring Bill Monroe on the mandolin: