She sadly passed away last Tuesday morning at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, at the age of 90, and I haven’t been able to get her music out of my head ever since (not that I’m complaining by any stretch of the imagination).
And one of my all-time favorite’s is her sassy tune “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind),” which was her very first #1 hit on the country charts.
The song was released in late 1966, and peaked at the top spot the following year in 1967. It ultimately became the title track to her album of the same name, which was eventually certified Gold by the RIAA in 1970, and Loretta was the first woman in country music to receive such an honor.
In a 1977 feature with Rolling Stone, Loretta explained a little bit about the inspiration behind the song, which partially came from her husband Doo, who was notoriously unfaithful and a heavy drinker for much of his life.
She said there’s no hidden message or anything behind it, and that it’s about exactly what it sounds like; an angry wife who’s tired of her husband going out and getting drunk with his friends, and then coming home with lovin’ on his mind, so to speak.
The funny thing is, though, most of her songs were written, both physically and in theory, before she was even 21, when she was still staying at home as a housewife and mom to four young children:
“Most people don’t know this, but 99% of this happened before I became an adult. Before I became the age of 21, most of my life was written.
After I became 21, there’s nothin’ been wrote except ‘The Pill,’ really. And I think I did that to kinda update the thing.”
She added that she hadn’t really lived her life yet, even though she was about 45 years old when this piece was written.
She spent much of her adult life out on the road on a tour bus, and in her 1976 autobiography Coal Miner’s Daughter, she wrote:
“It’s a strange deal. I’m supposed to be a country singer, writing songs about marriage and family and the way normal folks live.
But mostly I’m living in motel rooms and traveling on my special bus … I don’t even open the shades in my bus anymore.
I’ve seen every highway in the United States and they all look alike to me.”
A bit of a different perspective of a woman who, from the time she grew up, worked extremely hard for everything she ever had, whether that was picking berries in the hollers and hills of her native Kentucky, or standing on stage at the Grand Ole Opry.
I don’t think we got to see the sadder, more somber side of Loretta too often, so it’s neat to get a peak into her feelings on being gone so much and how her life was when she was constantly touring.
And I mean, I think every woman on the planet can relate to this song to a certain extent in some way, and Loretta is a legend for penning it on behalf of all of us.
She really just said what they were all thinking at the time, and it’s about as timeless as a song can be, because I don’t know of a single adult female who doesn’t love the honesty, humor and truth in this song still today.
Loretta wrote it with her sister Peggy Sue Wells:
“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.”
Just brilliant… RIP Mrs. Loretta.
She was as real honest as they come, and a true one of a kind woman:
“Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)”