“Fist City,” upon its release in 1968, slammed to the top of the Country Music Charts. Loretta Lynn wrote the song and was inspired by the affair that her husband had with another woman. This was also one of the songs that got Lynn banned from the radio during the 1960s for its controversial theme.
The song featured Loretta Lynn giving caution to another woman who persistently eyes her husband to stop or else she would take her to “Fist City.” Lynn said that this really happened. A certain woman was trying to take her husband, Doolittle, away from her, so Lynn gave her a showdown.
“Fist City” was metaphorically pertaining to the other woman’s front porch. This was where Loretta had a face-off with her. Lynn was definitely the woman you would not want to go against. She grew up with four brothers and gave each one a beat down.
The woman was not the only one who had seen “Fist City.” Lynn had to also send her husband there. One after the other, Loretta gave birth to four babies. Despite her being a committed wife and mother to their children, her husband gets violent when intoxicated. Once, her husband walked in and pulled her pin curlers, hurting Lynn. She turned around aiming to hit her husband’s shoulders but ended up punching him on the mouth and his teeth fall off. Fortunately that time, Lynn’s husband chose to walk away. However, Lynn reported that on other occasions, she and Doolittle would beat each other. Turns out that he married a woman who knows how to fight back.
Lynn got news about the affair while in Nashville for a recording. Instead of sulking, she wrote “Fist City” during a 75-mile trip back home. It was until Lynn sang the song during a performance at the Grand Ole Opry that her husband was able to hear what it was about. Upon hearing it, Lynn’s husband told her that this “Fist City” won’t be a hit. But, he underestimated all the women who were dealing with the same case of cheating husbands.
Owen Bradley, Lynn’s Producer, assembled a band that had Harold Bradley on bass, Grady Martin on lead guitar, Pete Drake on pedal steel guitar, Floyd Cramer on piano, and Buddy Harman on drums. In his interview with Lynn, Marc Myers said that Lynn knew that “Fist City” would be a hit after hearing the said musicians wanting to outplay one another while she was singing.
In 1996, Lynn had to take care of Doo as he was lying on his deathbed. One day, the bell rang. When Lynn opened the front door, a woman just walked past her. At first, Lynn didn’t recognize her but later on, she realized that it was her husband’s mistress. Lynn summarized the way she felt with this statement, “Can you Imagine? Honestly, I felt like killing her. As you can probably tell, I still don’t like her to this day.”
After its release, “Fist City” gave Loretta Lynn her second number 1 hit in early 1968. The song was recorded late in 1967 under Decca Records and was produced by Owen Bradley. The album bearing the same title was also successful as the single. “Fist City” became a follow-up success to “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” released in 1967. These were the first two of the 16 number 1 country hits that Lynn would be able to claim for the whole duration of her singing career.
Loretta Lynn and Her Songs
Loretta Lynn had the prime of her career during the ‘60s and ‘70s. It was during this time that she released hits like “You Ain’t Woman Enough” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” As an artist, Lynn became known for her songs featuring the deep-seated issues that many women in the society face. These included themes about philandering husbands and persistent mistresses. These issues were also real-life issues that she tackled in her own marriage.
Through her songs, the conservative boundaries that country music had was pushed to the limits. Lynn also had songs that had themes on repeated childbirth, double standards for men and women and being widowed caused by the draft during the Vietnam war. Consequently, C&W Radio stations would often refuse to play Lynn’s songs. About nine of Lynn’s songs were banned. This, however, did not prevent Lynn from rising and now, she has become one of country music’s legendary artists.