December 18

A Song about Motherhood, “One’s On The Way” by Loretta Lynn

A Song about Motherhood, “One’s On The Way” by Loretta Lynn 1

Loretta Lynn attended a White House dinner in 1987 where she received an Outstanding Achievement award from then-President Ronald Reagan. Humbled, she told her intellectual dinner mates, “All I ever did was invent kids.”

At the age of 31, Lynn became a grandmother for the first time, just one year after her twins, Peggy and Patsy became the last two additions to her family. Neither of the girls particularly liked their mother’s fifth No. 1 single, “One’s On The Way” because the record finishes with Loretta bemoaning, “I hope it ain’t twins again!”

“One’s On The Way” was a humorous piece on motherhood in which an average, ordinary housewife compares her conditions to the glamorous lives of entertainment celebrities such as Raquel Welch, Debbie Reynolds, and Elizabeth Taylor. Songwriter Shel Silverstein concocted “One’s On The Way” and sent it to producer Owen Bradley at Decca Records.

Surprisingly, Silverstein didn’t have Loretta in mind as the performer of “One’s On The Way” when he wrote it. Bradley claims Shel thought it might be something Jeannie Seely might be interested in. Well, Seely hated the song and wouldn’t touch it, so Owen filed the tune away.

At the time, Loretta Lynn had plenty of songs lined up and didn’t need any new ones. However, that situation completely changed when she left the Wil-Helm agency and her managers, Doyle and Teddy Wilburn. Lynn had signed some lifetime contracts with the Wilburn Brothers, and since the deals would provide them royalties from any new songs that she would write, she declined to write any new ones. So, just that quickly, Loretta found herself needing fresh material to record and began scouting around for some hit-making tunes.

Owen Bradley suggested “One’s On The Way” and dug it out of his files. After the record’s successful #1 landing, Loretta commented in interviews that Bradley felt she was the only singer in town who could have gotten away with that song since she already had the kids to prove it. With that in mind, many listeners familiar with Loretta’s life story thought she had written “One’s On The Way” because of its autobiographical scope.

“One’s On The Way” was Loretta’s third solo single to debut on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart during 1971. It started 1972 off in fine fashion when it topped the chart for two consecutive weeks beginning February 5, 1972. The previous month, Loretta’s “Greatest Hits” package became her first gold album.


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