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He Thinks He'll Keep Her


Mary Chapin Carpenter

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song was inspired by a 1970s Geritol TV commercial (which would now be regarded as extremely sexist and patronizing), in which a husband cites his wife's many attributes, summarizing with, "I think I'll keep her."
This song is about a woman who lives a typical, anodyne life devoted to her husband and family, but then after 15 years becomes fed up with the monotony and leaves him. Carpenter wrote the song with Don Schlitz, a Country music songwriting stalwart who wrote the Kenny Rogers hit "The Gambler."
With a more Pop-oriented sound and an influx of female stars, Country music went mainstream in the early '90s, leading to a 2-hour CBS special in 1993 called The Women of Country. This song, with its message of female empowerment, was a showcase song, with Carpenter performing it with Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, Suzy Bogguss, Pam Tillis, Patty Loveless, and Kathy Mattea.

Carpenter, who was raised in the Northeast and graduated from Brown University, was hailed as a new kind of Country singer - one that could appeal to an audience far outside the typical fan base of the genre.
Mary Chapin Carpenter
More Mary Chapin Carpenter songs
More songs about female empowerment

Comments (6):

One more in a long country music tradition of exploiting double meanings in the titles of songs: "he thinks he'll keep her" because she's such a dutiful wife, but on the other hand, he THINKS he'll keep her, but he's wrong.
- Staley, Dallas, TX
I like some of Mary Chapin Carpenter's songs, this just isn't one of them. It's depressing and pointless. The woman's life goes nowhere. She chucks it all for a typing job at minimum wage? Does not sound very fulfilling.
- Camille, Toronto, OH
Mary Chapin Carpenter did indeed write this song, Lucinda Williams wrote "Passionate Kisses", another hit from the album C'mon C'mon
- Andrew, Blossvale, NY
I think Lucinda Williams actually wrote this song.
- Luke, Montpelier, VT
Hi Kelly in Levitown.
Dreat song for sure!
Im just glad my mom stuck around totally "Unfullfilled"
- Steve, Salt Lake City, UT
This is a great song, and it tells a great story. A woman who spends her whole life caring for her husband and children and then realizes one day she just wants to do something for herself.
- Kelly, Levittown, PA
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