Rated 'X'

Album: Entertainer Of The Year - Loretta (1973)

Songfacts®:

  • In her sixth country chart-topper, Loretta Lynn tackles the harsh stigma a woman of the '70s faces after a divorce:

    The women all look at you like you're bad and the men all hope you are
    But if you go too far you're gonna wear the scar of a woman rated X


    Many disc jockeys refused to play the song at first because they assumed it was dirty based on the title. It did, however, stir controversy for its straightforward lyrics about sex. That didn't deter Lynn: She released her most controversial single, "The Pill," in 1975.
  • Lynn was never divorced, but her nearly 50-year marriage to Oliver "Doolittle" Lynn was fraught with issues, including his alcoholism and infidelities, that inspired many of Lynn's songs and made her an authentic voice for women stuck in similar relationships. The opening lyrics to "Rated 'X'" encourage women to get out of bad marriages ("divorce is key") but laments the double standard that casts the woman as a pariah ("you're gonna be talked about").
  • The album title is a nod to Lynn's historic win as the first female artist to ever be honored by the Country Music Association as Entertainer of the Year.
  • When The White Stripes released a song called "Hotel Yorba" on their 2001 album White Blood Cells, they also released a live version as a single that was recorded in Room 206 of the namesake hotel. The B-side of that single is their cover of "Rated 'X'," which was also recorded in that room.

    When Jack White produced Lynn's 2004 album Van Lear Rose, the White Stripes version of "Rated 'X'" was issued as a single as part of the box set of the album.
  • After her high-profile split from husband Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert performed this at the 2015 ACM Honors ceremony, where Loretta Lynn was presented with a Crystal Milestone Award.
  • When the song first came out, Lynn received letters from women who claimed the song was dirty and offensive towards divorcees - the exact opposite of the song's message. "If they had listened real good, they would have got the story right," she explained in the book Honky Tonk Girl: My Life In Lyrics. "I was taking up for divorced women. Once you have been married, if you got divorced or became widowed, every man takes it for granted that you're available, that you're easy. Maybe it's because they think that because we've been through so much, we're just ready for fun. They don't understand that while some women are like that, most aren't. That's the story I was trying to tell - I was talking to the men, trying to set them straight."

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