Unveiling the Charismatic Tale: Loretta Lynn‘s Iconic “One’s on the Way”
Prepare to be captivated by the charm and wit of Loretta Lynn’s legendary song, “One’s on the Way.” Described as a humorous take on motherhood by country music writer Tom Roland, this delightful piece revolves around a housewife in Topeka, Kansas. Expecting yet another addition to her bustling brood, she reflects on her hectic lifestyle, playfully comparing it to the glamorous lives of icons like Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor. The song even makes reference to the First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and the alluring actress Raquel Welch, further highlighting the stark contrast between the housewife’s conventional existence and the allure of fame.
“One’s on the Way” stands as the culmination of Lynn’s series of spirited songs, as noted by genre historian Bill Malone. Together with other similarly themed tracks like “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” and “The Pill,” Lynn emerged as the spokesperson for countless women who found themselves wedded too early, burdened by frequent pregnancies, and trapped in the monotony of everyday life.
Each verse of the song brims with Lynn’s awe of the outside world. In the opening lines, she marvels at Taylor flying to France to have her hair done and the vibrant social scene in Washington, contrasting it with her own mundane reality:
“Here in Topeka, the rain is a-fallin’,
the faucet is a-drippin’,
and the kids are a-bawlin'”
At one point, Lynn’s miscommunication with her husband causes a moment of frustration (he calls from a nearby tavern to announce the arrival of some old Army friends, just as she tries to redirect one of her children away from a forbidden place). As the song draws to a close, Lynn playfully sighs, “Gee, I hope it ain’t twins again!” — a sentiment stemming from her own personal experience, as her last two children were indeed twins.
Alternatively, when considering Lynn’s rendition, the lyrics can be interpreted as a sardonic observation on the shallow and purposeless existence of the glitterati, voiced by someone living a more relatable life. At certain points, the singer acknowledges the birth control pill and the women’s liberation movement, hinting at the potential impact of these societal changes, yet questioning whether they will truly influence her own life.
In a delightful twist, Loretta Lynn made a memorable guest appearance in an episode of The Muppet Show’s third season in 1978. On the iconic Muppet stage, she performed “One’s on the Way” alongside five adorable baby Muppets, creating a heartwarming rendition that resonated with audiences.
In her later performances of the song, Lynn often modified the lyrics to reflect the passing of time and the changing landscape of First Ladies. Formerly mentioning the beloved Jacqueline Kennedy, Lynn seamlessly incorporated the names of Nancy Reagan or Michelle Obama, paying homage to these influential figures who, like Kennedy, served as First Lady of the United States. Even after Elizabeth Taylor’s passing in March 2011, Lynn continued to include mentions of ‘Liz’ in her captivating live performances.
Loretta Lynn’s “One’s on the Way” remains an emblem of her incomparable talent and storytelling prowess. With its humor, relatability, and timeless appeal, this song continues to resonate with audiences, reminding us all of the joys and challenges that come with the journey of motherhood. Join Loretta Lynn on this melodic adventure and discover the magic of “One’s on the Way” that has captured the hearts of listeners for generations.
Single by Loretta Lynn
Album- One’s on the Way
Released- November 1971 (U.S.)
Label- Decca 32900
Songwriter- Shel Silverstein
Producer- Owen Bradley
They say to have her hair done, Liz flies all the way to France
And Jackie’s seen in a Discotecque doin’ a brand new dance
And the White House social season should be glitterin’ an’ gay
But here in Topeka the rain is a fallin’
The faucet is a drippin’ and the kids are a bawlin’
One of them a toddlin’ and one is a crawlin’
And one’s on the way
I’m glad that Raquel Welch just signed a million dollar pact
And Debbie’s out in Vegas workin’ up a brand new act
While the TV’s showin’ newlyweds, a real fun game to play
But here in Topeka, the screen door’s a bangin’
The coffee’s boilin’ over and the wash needs a hangin’
One wants a cookie and one wants a changin’
And one’s on the way
Now what was I doin’, Jimmy get away from there
Darn, there goes the phone
Hello honey, what’s that you say
You’re bringin’ a few old army buddies home
You’re callin’ from a bar
Get away from there, no, not you honey
I was talkin’ to the baby
Wait a minute, honey, the door bell
Honey, could you stop at the market and hello, hello
Well, I’ll be
The girls in New York City, they all march for women’s lib
And better homes and garden shows the modern way to live
And the pill may change the world tomorrow, but meanwhile, today
Here in Topeka, the flies are a buzzin’
The dog is a barkin’ and the floor needs a scrubbin’
One needs a spankin’ and one needs a huggin’
Lord, one’s on the way
Oh gee, I hope it ain’t twins, again