About the Song
A country song hit in 1992, “What Part of No (Don’t You Understand)” was popularized and originally recorded by American country music artist Lorrie Morgan. Released on December 7, 1992, it was Morgan’s second single from her third studio album, Watch Me. In addition, the song was penned by American songwriters Wayne Perry and Gerald Smith. American music producer Richard Landis produced it for BNA Records. This three minute-song is considered to be Morgan’s biggest hit to date.
Moreover, “What Part of No (Don’t You Understand)” significantly charted after its release at the end of 1992. At its highest, it peaked all the way to the top on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts and stayed there for three weeks. Also, it became a hit in Canada where it clinched the no. 1 spot on the RPM Country Tracks. In addition, the song still went well by the end of 1993. In fact, it managed to chart at no. 28 and no. 37 on the year-end charts for Billboard Country Songs and RPM Country Tracks, respectively.
“What Part of No (Don’t You Understand)” narrates a woman who is repeatedly approached by a man who persistently woes her. He sends her a rose, buys her a drink and asks her to dance with him. Despite all the efforts of the man, she remains uninterested and finally asks the man, “What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?“
On the 11th Annual Music City News Country Songwriters Awards night, Morgan performed the song on its live telecast.
In an article on the politics of country music, American writer, business person, and author Sandy Carter cited that “What Part of No (Don’t You Understand)” describing the song as:
“Most significantly, the commercial appeal of the current generation of country women seems directly linked to a feminist oriented lyric.”
Furthermore, she argues that this song, together with Morgan’s other hits “Watch Me” and “Five Minutes”, tells a message that the narrator
“‘takes clear control of her relationships’ and then discusses similar trends in songs by other artists.”
In addition, the song is mentioned in the introduction to a legal article, “What Part of ‘No’ Don’t You Understand?“, as “forcefully relating the anguish of a victim of sexual harassment.”
WATCH: Lorrie Morgan performs her 1992 hit “What Part of No (Don’t You Understand)?”
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