April 20

You Better Be Obedient or Lynn Will Take You to “Fist City”

“Coal Miner’s Daughter” remains Loretta Lynn’s most famous track. However, it is no secret that many of her early hits were all based on her personal life, one that she kept a secret for years. Loretta Lynn addressed women’s matters inconspicuously in her songs like “The Pill” and “One’s on the Way”. But, before these songs, Lynn made it simple that she was more than ready to shatter anyone who tries to take her man. Similar to her song “You Ain’t Woman Enough”, “Fist City” is part monographic, part public service declaration. What big experience did she have to go through to write such a strong, mean song?

You Better Be Obedient or Lynn Will Take You to “Fist City” 1

“Fist City”, the Story

“Fist City” was released in 1968 and had the character threatening another woman to stay away from her husband or bad things will happen. When asked about this song, Lynn said that it was based on her marriage to Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn, the man she was with when her career started. Doolittle had affairs with other women who chased him while Loretta was busy touring.

Lynn married when she was 15 and had four babies by the time she was 20. Hitting it big in her singing career, she started touring while Doolittle stayed home and farmed their 350 acres in Hurricane Mills. However, Lynn soon discovered that some girls around their town were getting the attention of her husband. When she came home one time from a tour, one of her daughters told her her dad went out with the bus driver. Lynn confronted the bus driver, who did not deny. Lynn, without hesitations, went to attack and went for the hair first. However, the motivation for Lynn to write “Fist City” came later when she learned that another girl relocated close to Hurricane Mills to make a move on Doolittle. She knew that she could not threaten her, but when she heard rumors, she wrote “Fist City” in her head while furiously driving 75 miles home.

Do you Want to go to “Fist City”?

In the song, Loretta cautions another woman that if she keeps eyeing her man, she is going to take her to “Fist City”, where she will deliver a whooping. You would not like that. Lynn also took her husband to Fist City for coming home drunk at times. Her husband, however, did not hear the tune until she sang it at the Grand Ole Opry. After the performance, he claimed that the song would never make it big. A claim he was ashamed for. So, you better be good, because as Loretta warned,

“I’m here to tell you gal to lay off of my man,

If you don’t wanna go to Fist City.”

Did you like this Loretta Lynn classic? We have more for you. Visit our website and enjoy more country music.


Doolittle, Fist City, Loretta Lynn

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