The Pill

Album: Back To The Country (1975)
Charted: 70
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Songfacts®:

  • By the time Loretta Lynn recorded "The Pill" in 1972, the birth control pill had been on the US market for over a decade, but the conservative country music scene still wasn't ready for a song celebrating the use of contraception. Many country stations pulled the song from their playlists and it stalled at #5. But controversy breeds curiosity and curiosity boosts record sales, so the song became Lynn's highest-charting single on the pop chart at #70. The singer couldn't understand what the fuss was all about. In our interview with Loretta Lynn, she explained: "I didn't understand that, because everybody was taking the pill. I didn't have the money to take it when they put it out, but I couldn't understand why they were raising such a fuss over taking the pill."

    Although it was written by a team of songwriters, Lorene Allen, Don McHan, and T. D. Bayless, Lynn could certainly relate to the narrator who is sick of having babies left and right and is "makin' up for all those years, since I've got the pill." By the time she was 19, Lynn had three children and would give birth to three more, including a set of twins, just as the pill was gaining traction by 1964. She told People magazine: "If I'd had the pill back when I was havin' babies I'd have taken 'em like popcorn. The pill is good for people. I wouldn't trade my kids for anyone's. But I wouldn't necessarily have had six and I sure would have spaced 'em better."
  • Doctors were grateful to Lynn as the song introduced the availability of the pill to women living in rural areas.
  • Unbeknownst to Lynn at the time, she was almost banned from singing this at the Grand Ole Opry. She recalled in an interview with Playgirl Magazine: "You know I sung it three times at the Grand Ole Opry one night, and I found out a week later that the Grand Ole Opry had a three-hour meeting, and they weren't going to let me [sing it]… If they hadn't let me sing the song, I'd have told them to shove the Grand Ole Opry!"
  • Lynn performed this on Dolly Parton's variety show, Dolly, in 1988, and on Roseanne Barr's talk show, The Roseanne Show, in 1998.
  • This is the first popular English-language song about birth control.

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