kept one shirt on

One's on the Way

"One's on the Way" is a song made famous by country music singer Loretta Lynn. Originally released in 1971, the song was the title track to her 1971 album and became one of her best-known hits. It was written by Shel Silverstein.

About the song

Country music writer Tom Roland described "One's on the Way" as a "humorous piece on motherhood," wherein a stay-at-home mother (pregnant with the latest in a family of several children) contemplates her hectic lifestyle and compares her conditions to "the glamorous lives of Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor."

The song was the latest in a series of what genre historian Bill Malone said was "feisty" songs from Lynn. In effect, "One's on the Way" and similarly-themed songs (such as "Don't Come Home A' Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)" and "The Pill") helped Lynn become "the spokeswoman for every woman who had gotten married too early, pregnant too often and felt trapped by the tedium and drugery of her life.

In fact, each of the song's verses has Lynn speaking in envy and awe about the outside world. For instance, in the first verse, she draws comparisons between such things as Taylor flying to France to have her hair done and the joy and gaity of the "White House social season," and her own dull life ("Here in Topeka, the rain is a-fallin'. The faucet is a-drippin' and the kids are a-bawlin'"). At one point, she angers her husband after a misunderstanding (he had called from a nearby tavern to announce he was bringing some old Army friends home, and she was trying to shoo one of her children away from somewhere he wasn't supposed to be). The end of the song includes Lynn sighing, "Gee, I hope it ain't twins again!"

On the other hand, the lyrics -- considering there is no hint of envy in the way in which they are sung in the Loretta Lynn version -- can be taken as a bemused observation of the shallow, pointless existence of the glitterati by one who is actually living a meaningful life, and doing important and significant work.

Original pressings

When released in November 1971, Decca Records issued the single to record stores and radio stations under the title "Here in Topeka" (in reference to the hook line). Once the mistake was discovered, new singles were issued with the correct title. However, for years, Lynn received requests at concerts to perform "Here in Topeka.



See also

  • Whitburn, Joel, "Top Country Songs: 1944-2005," 2006.

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