Songs That Were Banned: Loretta Lynn – The Pill

There’s a gonna be some changes made, Right here on nursery hill, You’ve set this chicken your last time, ‘Cause now I’ve got the pill

By the time Loretta Lynn recorded “The Pill” in 1975, 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 in the Billboard Album Chart. But controversy breeds curiosity and curiosity boost record sales, so the song became Lynn’s highest-charting solo single on the pop chart at #70 in the Billboard 100.

Loretta Lynn: “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 anyones. But I wouldn’t necessarily have had six and I sure would have spaced ’em better.”

“The Pill”, written by Lorene Allen, Don McHan, T. D. Bayless, and Loretta Lynn.

From Songfacts

 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. 

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.

The Pill

You wined me and dined me
When I was your girl
Promised if I’d be your wife
You’d show me the world
But all I’ve seen of this old world
Is a bed and a doctor bill
I’m tearin’ down your brooder house
‘Cause now I’ve got the pill
All these years I’ve stayed at home
While you had all your fun
And every year that’s gone by
Another babys come
There’s a gonna be some changes made
Right here on nursery hill
You’ve set this chicken your last time
‘Cause now I’ve got the pill

This old maternity dress I’ve got
Is goin’ in the garbage
The clothes I’m wearin’ from now on
Won’t take up so much yardage
Miniskirts, hot pants and a few little fancy frills
Yeah I’m makin’ up for all those years
Since I’ve got the pill

I’m tired of all your crowin’
How you and your hens play
While holdin’ a couple in my arms
Another’s on the way
This chicken’s done tore up her nest
And I’m ready to make a deal
And ya can’t afford to turn it down
‘Cause you know I’ve got the pill

This incubator is overused
Because you’ve kept it filled
The feelin’ good comes easy now
Since I’ve got the pill
It’s gettin’ dark it’s roostin’ time
Tonight’s too good to be real
Oh but daddy don’t you worry none
‘Cause mama’s got the pill
Oh daddy don’t you worry none
‘Cause mama’s got the pill