For many artists, songwriting is about learning to write about what you know best. For Loretta Lynn, she knew a lot about living through a difficult relationship.
One thing she knew a lot about was marriage and her husband. Lynn was married to her husband, Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn, for almost 50 years before he passed away in 1996 at the age of 69 from heart failure.
Their marriage was not a perfect love story in any sense. He was reportedly a cheater, a womanizer, and a heavy drinker. In fact, he was the inspiration behind countless of Lynn’s trademark fiery songs about mistrust and cheating.
Loretta Lynn Sings Song on Doo’s Deathbed
Doo was the inspiration for countless songs like “Fist City” and “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin.'” However, the last song he would ever inspire Lynn to write was Lynn’s 1985 song, “Wouldn’t It Be Great,” according to Country Music Family.
The song first appeared on her album “Just a Woman.” Tammy Wynette, Lynn, and Dolly Parton re-recorded the song for “Honky Tonk Angels” in 1993.
The song packs in a lot of what their relationship was about. Despite the extreme toxicity of it, there was still some element of love somewhere. In a press release for the album, she once said, “I always liked that song, but I never liked to sing it around Doo.”
The song is about wishing he would love her more than alcohol. In the songs she sings, “Wouldn’t it be great if you could love me first / And let the bottle wait? / Now wouldn’t that be great, now wouldn’t that be great?”
According to PBS, she once said that her husband cheated regularly and even left her while she was in the middle of giving birth. She made the controversial statement that “he never hit me one time that I didn’t hit him back twice.”
While the song wasn’t the most loving song she ever wrote about Doolittle, it certainly matched their relationship.
Why Did They Stay Together?
If you’ve listened to a good amount of Loretta Lynn’s hits you may be wondering why she stayed with her husband. Given the anger and the mistrust apparent in her hits, what made her stay?
The two got married when she was 15 and he was 21. They had six children together.
She often gave him the credit for starting her successful career in country music. He bought her a guitar and even helped promote her first song “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.”
According to Biography.com she once said, “I’ve never written a song that my husband wasn’t in. Every song I wrote, but he didn’t know which line he was in.” If he wasn’t helping her promote and write songs, he was the inspiration behind them.
She also said that you should have to fight for your man. At the same time, she admitted her kids were a pretty huge factor in why she endured being with him for all those years.