Loretta Lynn’s ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough’: Story Behind the Iconic Hit Song

by Madison Miller
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Loretta Lynn has had a lot of success throughout her career (she even has a song called “Success”).

However, one of her most well-known songs continues to be “You Ain’t Woman Enough.” It was released as a single in May 1966 with Decca Records. The song peaked at No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles charts. The album with the same name, however, claimed the No. 1 spot.

The song was produced by Owen Bradley and tells the story of a woman with a lot of determination.

“And I’m gonna stand right here / It’ll be over my dead body so get out while you can / ‘Cause you ain’t woman enough to take my man / No, you ain’t woman enough to take my man.”

Where did Lynn get the inspiration to write one of country music’s most fierce songs?

Here’s the story behind the hit.

‘You Ain’t Woman Enough’ Story

She revealed the story behind the song in a 2016 episode of the “American Masters” series with PBS. She wrote the song after hearing a story from a young woman before going on stage to perform at one of her concerts. The woman had snuck into Lynn’s dressing room to confide in her.

Basically, the woman was complaining that someone was trying to steal her husband. Lynn looked into the audience, got a good look at the woman, and declared, “Honey, she ain’t woman enough to take your man!”

From there all it took was a quiet dressing room, some paper, and ten minutes to create what would become one of her signature hits for years to come.

More Detail in Lynn’s Book

While she doesn’t go into great detail on the PBS special, she did in her book “Honky Tonk Girl: My Life In Lyrics.” This book features stories behind her songs as well as the lyrics to some of her unrecorded songs.

She went into more detail about not only the meaning behind that song but why it has remained close to her heart for so long.

“I gave birth to this song, and I felt every little bit of pain in these lyrics. You know a woman likes to feel sure of a man – but there are times when things just don’t play out that way. Do I have to say more about that? I think in every marriage, at one time or the other, a woman worries about the other woman who may or may not exist. In my case, in this case, I had to be sure. Over the years, a lot of my fans have become close friends, and we tell each other all our problems,” Lynn wrote.

She wrote the song and performed it that night to really “stick it” to the “other woman” in the crowd. It was an act of female solidarity that Lynn will never forget and the fan likely won’t either.

Loretta Lynn is Still Making Music

Lynn has been still woman enough to release a new album this coming March, as well. It will be fittingly called, “Still Woman Enough.” The goal is to celebrate women in country music by collaborating with artists like Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, Tanya Tucker, and Margo Price.

“I am just so thankful to have some of my friends join me on my new album.  We girl singers gotta stick together. It’s amazing how much has happened in the fifty years since ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ first came out and I’m extremely grateful to be given a part to play in the history of American music,” Loretta Lynn said regarding the album.

Recently, Lynn has also been discussing one of her older songs called, “The Pill.” This was a song about birth control that was banned when she released it in 1975.

Loretta Lynn has always paved her own path of feminism throughout her career. Her song, “The Pill” is an example of some of her very real and socially constructive lyrics.

She told People once, “If I’d had the pill back when I was havin’ babies I’d have taken ’em like popcorn. The pill is good for people. I wouldn’t trade my kids for anyone’s. But I wouldn’t necessarily have had six and I sure would have spaced ’em better.”

H/T: American Songwriter

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