Fist City

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"Fist City"
Single by Loretta Lynn
from the album Fist City
Released 1968
Format 7"
Recorded 1967
Genre Country
Label Decca
Writer(s) Loretta Lynn
Producer(s) Owen Bradley
Loretta Lynn singles chronology
"What Kind of a Girl (Do You Think I Am)"
(1967)
"Fist City"
(1968)
"You've Just Stepped In (From Steppin' Out of Me)"
(1968)

"Fist City" is a country music song written and performed by Loretta Lynn, released in 1968. Inspired by her husband's dalliances with other women who pursued him while she was busy touring, Lynn wrote the song as a warning for other women to stay away from him if they do not wish to be soundly beaten. It is one of several songs that got Lynn banned from the radio in the 1960s for her controversial themes.[1]

Composition and reception[edit]

Lynn wrote "Fist City" in response to a woman who began pursuing her husband, Doolittle, while Lynn was frequently touring in Tennessee. The Lynns' marriage was often tumultuous; he threw her out of the house early in the relationship, ostensibly for her bad cooking. Lynn found out, however, that he was seeing a woman with whom he had been previously involved and blamed Lynn for driving her away. (`Who's that sow a-wallerin' in yer Jeep?')

Lynn wrote a letter to the other woman, who promptly showed it to Doolittle, who confronted Lynn, telling her to stay out of his business and that any love he had for her was gone. Lynn wrote that his statement broke her heart, and the experience eventually led her to write "Fist City" and the similar "You Ain't Woman Enough".[2]

Admitting that she was tenaciously jealous and Doolittle sometimes did not spurn the advances of other women, Lynn penned the song as a warning, later reflecting in her 2001 autobiography, "I've been in a couple of fights in my life. I fight like a woman. I scratch and kick and bite and punch. Women are much meaner than men. So I warned any girl making eyes at Doo then, and I'm still jealous enough to warn 'em today—if you see this cute little old boy near me wearing his cowboy hat, you'd better walk a circle around us if you don't want to go to Fist City."[3]

"Fist City" became Lynn's second number 1 hit in early 1968. Released under Decca Records, and produced by Owen Bradley, "Fist City" was recorded in late 1967, but not released until early 1968. An album of the same name was also released that was as successful as the single. "Fist City" was the second of 16 number 1 country hits Lynn has had during the course of her career, following "Don't Come Home A' Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)" in early 1967.[4]

Nathan Rabin at The A.V. Club writes that “Fist City” is the "single greatest song title of all time", justifying the designation by stating,

Lynn grappled with the most important social issues facing our nation, but she did not hesitate to beat a bitch down when the situation called for it. In song and life, Lynn could be a fierce lioness when it came to fighting for her man. As chronicled in Coal Miner’s Daughter, she had her hands full trying to tame a hard-drinking womanizer who felt threatened by his wife’s incredible success. On “Fist City,” for example, Lynn deliciously taunts a silly little thing whose interest in Lynn’s husband is destined to earn her a one-way invitation to a beatdown.[5]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1968) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Norris, Chris (2004), "Good Girl Gone Wild", Spin, 20 (6). p. 38.
  2. ^ Lynn (2002), p. 38.
  3. ^ Lynn (2001), p. 92.
  4. ^ Billboard Singles - Loretta Lynn, AllMusic. Retrieved on February 12, 2011.
  5. ^ Rabin, Nathan (October 5, 2010). Week 44: Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter, The A.V. Club. Retrieved on February 12, 2011.

References[edit]

  • Lynn, Loretta, Vecsey, George (2001). Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter, Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81037-9
  • Lynn, Loretta, Cox, Patsi Bale (2002). Still Woman Enough: A Memoir, Hyperion. ISBN 0-7868-6650-0
Preceded by
"You Are My Treasure"
by Jack Greene
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

April 20, 1968
Succeeded by
"The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde"
by Merle Haggard & the Strangers
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

May 11, 1968
Succeeded by
"Have a Little Faith"
by David Houston