20 Most Controversial Songs By Women

Juli Thanki | March 2nd, 2009

March is Women’s History Month. And what better way to celebrate than by turning our eyes to the women of country music? No shrinking violets here; these ladies have no qualms about saying what’s on their minds at the risk of backlash and blacklisting, and in doing so, they’ve cemented their place in country music history. Oh, and the songs are damn good too.

  • Shania Twain - What Made You Say That 20. “What Made you Say That” – Shania Twain
    The song isn’t controversial, but the music video was. A glimpse of Twain’s midriff sent country music into hysterics way back in 1993. The video was banned from CMT, only to be unbanned once everyone calmed down. Now that half-naked girls are de rigueur in country music videos, Twain’s tummy seems downright quaint, but for a brief moment, Shania was the most controversial woman in country music.
  • Jean Shephard - Act Like A Married Man 19. “Act Like A Married Man” – Jean Shephard
    Jean Shephard is one of country music’s unsung outspoken badasses, spending the 1950s recording songs with titles like “The Root of All Evil is a Man,” “I Hate Myself,” and “The Other Woman,” a track in which she sings from the point of view of the titular character. Here, Shephard lays down the law with a wannabe adulterer in this song as she sings “You have a good wife at home, you know she’s never been untrue/She has a whole world of faith and trust and confidence in you/How you can be unfaithful, I just can’t understand/Now why don’t you go home to your wife and act like a married man.”
  • Miranda Lambert -Gunpowder and Lead 18. “Gunpowder and Lead” – Miranda Lambert
    His fist is big, but my gun’s bigger/He’ll find out when I pull the trigger.” This is the first of multiple songs on our countdown in which a woman kills her abuser. To date this is the best-charting single of Lambert’s career, suggesting listeners weren’t offended by this controversial topic—for that, see the other songs with similar subject matter on this playlist—but just the opposite. Lambert should be commended for creating a great country-rock song that also does its part to raise public awareness about the horrors of domestic violence.
  • Holly Dunn - Maybe I Mean Yes 17. “Maybe I Mean Yes” – Holly Dunn
    People were up in arms—and rightly so—with this song. Containing lyrics such as “Nothin’s worth havin’ if it ain’t a little hard to get/So let me clarify so you won’t have to try to guess/When I say no I mean maybe/Or maybe I mean yes,” it’s difficult to see Dunn’s song as anything but icky at best, a justification or excuse for date rape at worst. Either way, it’s a song no young girl should be listening to as an example of a healthy relationship.
  • Martina McBride - Independence Day 16. “Independence Day” – Martina McBride
    Another husband-killing song. Though it didn’t chart as well as the other singles from her second album, The Way I Am (1993), “Independence Day” has singularly defined McBride’s career as she sings about a woman who burns her house down in order to free herself from her abusive spouse. The video was a bit controversial too, featuring McBride singing in front of the burning house the lyrics describe, but it won a CMA award for Video of the Year.
  • The Carter Family - Single Girl Married Girl 15. “Single Girl, Married Girl” – The Carter Family
    At the time this song was recorded in 1927, lead singer Sara was married to A.P. Carter, who, for all his value as a country music pioneer, wasn’t much of a husband, wandering far and wide with Lesley Riddle in search of songs to work up and subsequently copyright while Sara stayed at home managing the land and raising the couple’s three children. In this song, you can hear the naked desperation in Sara’s voice as she sings “Single girl, single girl/She goes to the store and buys/Married girl, married girl/Rocks the cradle and cries.”
  • Tammy Wynette - Woomanhood 14. “Womanhood” – Tammy Wynette
    Here Wynette is torn between religious faith and desires of the flesh. As she begs for guidance, pleading “I am a Christian, Lord, but I’m a woman too” she sings for all of those who have struggled with the same issue throughout the centuries. After all, we’re only human.
  • Reba McEntire She Thinks His Name Was John 13. “She Thinks His Name Was John” – Reba McEntire
    From 1994 album Read My Mind comes a song that wasn’t even originally released as a single, but first garnered airplay from listener requests. Songwriter Sandy Knox’s lyrics never concretely mention AIDS—the song was written after Knox watched her brother die of the disease—and it’s all the more powerful for it. Though the song verges on moralistic (lyrics such as “She lays all alone and cries herself to sleep/’Cause she let a stranger kill her hopes and dreams” reinforce the stigma of AIDS, since apparently “letting” someone give you the disease means you will die alone and unloved) props to Ms. McEntire for having the guts to record such a song, and to the listeners who helped make a song thought too depressing for radio a hit.
  • Norma Jean - Heaven Help The Working Girl 12. “Heaven Help The Working Girl” – Norma Jean
    Pretty Miss Norma Jean scored big with this Top 20 hit in 1967. Penned by Harlan Howard, this song about a waitress doesn’t mention glass ceilings, unequal pay for equal work, or any of the other issues that have plagued women. But when Norma Jean sings “Heaven help the working girl/In a world that’s run by men” all that, and more, is implied.
  • Dixie Chicks - Not Ready To Make Nice 11. “Not Ready to Make Nice” – Dixie Chicks
    After the conflagration surrounding Natalie Maines’ 2003 comments about then-president George W. Bush and the Chicks’ subsequent exile from commercial country radio and television, the trio made their return to music with this song, the first single from 2006’s Taking the Long Way. Here the ladies refuse to apologize for their actions as they cite the violent backlash they received for speaking their minds. Whatever your thoughts on their politics, you’ve gotta admit that these women have a lot of guts.
  • Iris Dement - Letter to mom 10. “Letter to Mom” – Iris Dement
    This song would have been incredibly controversial–if the mainstream had ever had a chance to hear it. From her 1996 country-folk album The Way I Should, the “letter to Mom” mentioned in this song details a young girl’s molestation by her mother’s new boyfriend. It’s everything a country song should be: a solid honkytonk arrangement beneath an absolutely gutwrenching story. When Dement’s unique voice sings “One night he climbed into my bed/He left me wishing I was dead/I’ve been walking around with secrets now too long” it’s a rare soul who doesn’t want to lay right down and die with her.
  • Maddox Brothers and Rose - I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again 9. “I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again” – Maddox Brothers & Rose
    The best hillbilly band in country music history takes a look at marriage’s downside with this infectious classic. As her brothers hoot, howl, and interject with bits of yokel witticism, sister Rose sings “When I was single and he used to come to court/He always brought me candy and I thought he was a sport/Now we are married and what do you think/He bought a gingham apron and he showed me to the sink.” It’s a wonder any woman who heard this song wanted to get married at all.
  • Reba McEntire - Fancy 8. “Fancy” – Reba McEntire
    In an extremely loving—if extremely unusual, and more than a little gross—gesture, a mother turns her daughter out, prostitution being the only way to escape suffering the same fate as the rest of her poverty-stricken family. By following Mama’s advice, including “To thine own self be true” and “Just be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy/And they’ll be nice to you,” Fancy is able to get herself a mansion by working her, ahem, “charm” on “a king, a congressman, and an occasional aristocrat.” Take note, Julia Roberts: this is how you portray a hooker with a heart of gold.
  • Dixie Chicks - Goodbye Earl 7. “Goodbye Earl” – Dixie Chicks
    Oh, those halcyon days of 2000, when the controversy surrounding the Dixie Chicks was about a murder ballad in which the victim kinda deserved what he got. Despite country music’s long association with murder ballads, mainstream radio got their knickers in a twist and several stations cut the song from their playlists. The hilarious video featuring an undead Dennis Franz fared a bit better, winning the CMA award for Music Video of the Year.
  • Tammy Wynette - Stand By Your Man 6. “Stand By Your Man” – Tammy Wynette
    Since this classic’s release, a debate has raged about the meaning of its lyrics. Is the song feminist in that it encourages equality, or is it anti-feminist because—among other reasons—the lyrics “you’ll have bad times, he’ll have good times/Doing things that you don’t understand” implies that women just can’t wrap their pretty little heads around “boys will be boys” behaviors such as infidelity. The real controversy came when former First Lady Hillary Clinton cited Wynette’s song in the midst of her husband’s 1992 presidential campaign after reports of him having an extramarital affair with Gennifer Flowers surfaced, stating she wasn’t “Some little woman standing by [her] man like Tammy Wynette,” thereby raising the ire of country music lovers and Wynette herself. But you know what? When push came to shove, Mrs. Clinton followed Tammy’s advice. And then she offered an apology to the legendary singer.
  • Dolly Parton - Down From Dover 5. “Down From Dover” – Dolly Parton
    In the anthology The Rose and The Briar: Death, Love, and Liberty in the American Ballad, music journalist Eric Weisbard describes the way he makes Dolly converts out of ex-punks: “I’ve never played ‘Down From Dover’ for someone and not seen his or her jaw drop. Can you believe this? That was a Dolly Parton song?” Among most non-country listeners, Dolly is just a mass of boobs, fake hair, and pop crossovers. Those of us in the know are aware that’s far from the truth, and no other song better proves it than “Down From Dover.” An unwed mother-to-be is cast out from her family and waits in vain for the man who impregnated her to return. The final stanza is the saddest of all as you can hear the tear in Parton’s voice as she sings “My body aches, the time is here/It’s lonely in the place where I’m lyin’/Our baby has been born, but something’s wrong/It’s too still, I hear no cryin’/I guess in some strange way she knew she’d never have a father’s arms to hold her/And dying was her way of telling me he wasn’t coming down from Dover.” “Dover” never had a chance on the radio, and although Dolly re-recorded it for 2001 bluegrass album Little Sparrow, it’s still her best least-known song.
  • Tanya Tucker - Would You Lay With me 4. “Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone)” – Tanya Tucker
    America clutched its collective pearls as country music’s bad girl Tanya Tucker sang about sex. Funny that the issue wasn’t raised when the David Allan Coe-penned song was also covered by Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
  • Jeannie C Riley - Harper Valley PTA 3. “Harper Valley P.T.A.” – Jeannie C. Riley
    Riley lays the verbal smackdown on hypocritical, small town gossips in this 1968 hit that catapulted her into crossover stardom. She topped both pop and country charts with this instant classic that’s been covered by just about every girl singer in Nashville–and the occasional dude as well (Billy Cyrus). Unwilling to apologize for her miniskirt or the way she’s raising her daughter, Mrs. Johnson ranks as one of country music’s most colorful characters.
  • Loretta Lynn - The Pill 2. “The Pill/Rated X/Fist City/The Wings Upon Your Horns” – Loretta Lynn
    The Coal Miner’s Daughter doesn’t shy away from hot topics; in fact, we could have made an entire playlist composed entirely of Lynn songs that have been “banned” from radio (over a dozen at the time of this writing). With these songs and lots more, Loretta directs her sharp tongue toward the new birth control pill, divorcees, teenage sexuality, and suckerpunching husband-stealing hussies. If only contemporary country radio stars had the guts to be so outspoken.
  • Kitty Wells - It Wasnt God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels 1. “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” – Kitty Wells
    There’s no other song that could top this list. A response to Hank Thompson’s 1952 hit “The Wild Side of Life,” Wells’ song delivers a sweetly-sung reply that lays the blame squarely at the feet of her accuser. Kitty Wells may be the consummate lady, but when she sang “It’s a shame that all the blame is on us women/It’s not true that only you men feel the same/From the start, most every heart that’s ever broken/Was because there always was a man to blame,” country music never had more balls.

1 Ping

  1. [...] March is Women’s History Month. And what better way to celebrate than by turning our eyes to the women of country music? No shrinking violets here; these ladies have no qualms about saying what’s on their minds at the risk of backlash and blacklisting, and in doing so, they’ve cemented their place in country music history. Look for our favorite gal at number 2 on the list.  more! [...]
  1. Leeann Ward
    March 2, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Awesome feature!!

    I agree on the Holly Dunn song. Ew!

    I just posted a comment kinda like this about She Thinks His Name Is John” on another site. I love how the point of the song isn’t overt, but still manages to feel very sad.

    I haven’t heard the Dement song, but I cringe just reading about it. I keep meaning to get some of her music.

  2. Juli
    March 2, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Leeann, I wholeheartedly recommend Dement; some find her voice to be an acquired taste, but she’s the real deal. The Way I Should is an incredible album and a great first taste of Dement (“Wasteland of the Free” is another one that could be on this list). Plus there’s a duet with Delbert McClinton!

  3. Leeann Ward
    March 2, 2009 at 6:48 am

    She comes highly recommended by Kevin at CU too, which is why I’ve been meaning to check her out for awhile. I already know a few songs and already know that I have acquired the taste for her voice. So, that won’t be a problem for me. Thanks for the starting point. Love your articles, by the way.

  4. Razor X
    March 2, 2009 at 8:30 am

    The “Stand By Your Man” controversy concerning Hillary Clinton occurred during the 1992 Presidential campaign, not during the Lewinsky scandal. Tammy had already passed away by the time Bill Clinton was impeached in December 1998.

  5. Juli
    March 2, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Indeed, Razor, you are correct. I got Lewinsky mixed up with Gennifer Flowers. Somehow I didn’t think I was so young when the Hillary/Wynette to-do happened. Thanks for the heads up!

  6. dothanal
    March 2, 2009 at 9:11 am

    people can make all the excuses they want for the Dixie Chicks but any time any of their music comes on, i turn away. their actions make me feel shameful.

  7. nm
    March 2, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Oh, I love “Act Like a Married Man.” The chorus is so catchy that I sometimes envision a batch of women hanging out together in a bar singing it at the guys.

    And you ought to give a shout-out to Bobbie Gentry, who wrote “Fancy” and whose version, though not a huge hit like McEntire’s, is also well worth listening to.

  8. Chris N.
    March 2, 2009 at 9:50 am

    “people can make all the excuses they want for the Dixie Chicks but any time any of their music comes on, i turn away.”

    But can’t you still hear it after you turn away?

  9. Leeann Ward
    March 2, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Hey Cris, congrats on the marriage…(Myspace).

  10. Mike K
    March 2, 2009 at 11:00 am

    While we’re giving shout-outs, how ’bout Tom T. Hall for writing Harper Valley PTA. His version is less pissed off mom and more “look at what a mess everybody is.”

  11. Michael
    March 2, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Great idea for a feature!

    Dolly could have had a whole list too (“The Bargain Store”, “Daddy Come and Get Me”…)

    Reba’s “Fancy” is still my all time favorite song.

    “Not Ready to Make Nice” is one of the best songs and videos of the last few years. While some may not agree with their politics, you can’t deny that the Dixie Chicks do make great music as opposed to, oh, I don’t know, let’s say John Rich.

    It’s kind of hard to believe that radio has regressed so much I can’t even imagine most of these songs being sandwiched between “Country Boy” and “Chicken Fried” on playlists.

  12. Chris N.
    March 2, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Thanks! Sorry, ladies, but I’m officially off the market.

  13. Kelly
    March 2, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    well Chris, even though we’ll never find out what might’ve been,we’ll always have that lunch at the Tin Roof…

  14. Leeann Ward
    March 2, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Chris N said: Thanks! Sorry, ladies, but I’m officially off the market.

    Then Kelly responded with: well Chris, even though we’ll never find out what might’ve been,we’ll always have that lunch at the Tin Roof…

    I say, be careful Kelly; otherwise, you’ll just perpetuate people’s confusion about your gender.:)

  15. Kelly
    March 2, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Good point…that lunch didnt mean anything to me!! Take that, you newly married man!

  16. Occasional Hope
    March 2, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Wasn’t the reason Tanya Tucker’s version of Would You Lay With Me was controversial was that she was only 15 at the time, rather than her gender?

  17. dothanal
    March 2, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    any music by the Dixie Chicks is like fingernails on a chalk board. any venue playing it is suspect to me. while “another you” seemed contrived, i find “shuttin Detroit down” true to John Rich form and i like it.

  18. Juli
    March 2, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Wasn’t the reason Tanya Tucker’s version of Would You Lay With Me was controversial was that she was only 15 at the time, rather than her gender?

    I think it was a combination of both; would people have gotten equally worked up if the song was sung by a teenage boy in 1974, especially considering it’s really not an offensive song to begin with? I’m not sure. People probably wouldn’t have gotten worked up if an adult woman released it, but I’ve always thought that Tanya Tucker was like the perfect storm as far as controversy goes.

    And congrats, Chris!

  19. Kim
    March 2, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I feel controversial. or empowered. or…something. I have 14 of these! I have to go get the other 6! Great feature! although I was also looking for Carrie Underwhatever’s “Before He cheats” be since that wasn’t controversial (though I think it should have been), and it was a pop song anyway, I can see why it wasn’t.

  20. Kelly
    March 2, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    “any music by the Dixie Chicks is like fingernails on a chalk board. any venue playing it is suspect to me”

    Move on! I have to assume you have a hard time filling your Ipod with artists that only believe in the same things and agree with you on every subject. OOOH, they dissed Pres Bush!! As with any other Dixie Chicks hater, I cant help but wonder what you would feel if someone actually bashed Obama on foreign soil…

    The items that make most of the songs on this list “scandalous” are far more serious and even sinister than the fact that Natalie bad-mouthed the Prez while on foreign soil, get a grip…

  21. Lee
    March 2, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    “Politics stop at the water’s edge.” Sen. Arthur Vandenburg.

    I bash the Socialist In Chief frequently, in private conversations, and in the public prints.
    However, if I should go overseas I will stop the bashing for the duration of the trip.

    That is how things are traditionally done in America.
    Too bad some folks are too ignorant to know that.

  22. Peter
    March 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Juli – thanks for the mention of Iris D’s album; methinks some of the more “right-minded” people could give a good listen to “Wasteland Of The Free”; or was Iris being anit-American for daring to question the authority of the commmander-in-chief

  23. Razor X
    March 2, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Amen, Lee.

    I’d also like to add that what made Ms. Maines’ remarks even more onerous was not that she “dissed the Prez” but that she did so as the country was preparing for war, which serves to undermine the war effort. I could forgive an ill-conceived comment that might not have been well thought-through before it was made, but I can’t forget how completely obnoxious Ms. Maines was — and continues to be — in the aftermath.

  24. Chris N.
    March 2, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Funny, politics didn’t stop at the water’s edge when Bush bashed Obama while in Israel last year.

  25. dothanal
    March 2, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    no i will not move on. i will never forget 9/11. i will not forget that the husband of someone in my Bible study group is in Iraq while she raises their 3 year old alone. i will not forget ALL the soldiers and their families that have sacrificed to buy my freedoms with their blood, sweat and tears. the Dixie Chicks music does not transcend their ungrateful boorishness.

  26. Paula_W
    March 2, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    I didnt like (not one little bit) the Dixie Chicks’ music and attitude LONG before the George Bush / Toby Keith / Dixie Chicks controversy. (I’m not much of a fan of TK either by the way).

  27. Peter
    March 2, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Hey Doth Anal….what do the Dixie Chicks have to do with 9/11?

    egads

  28. nm
    March 2, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Juli, I think you maybe ought to change “Not Ready to Make Nice” to #1 on the list, considering.

  29. Chris N.
    March 2, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Didn’t you know, Peter? The Dixie Chicks and Saddam Hussein planned 9/11 together.

  30. Kelly
    March 2, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Dothanal, how in the world did you get that I was sugegsting anyone move on from 9/11?? read the comments you are responding to before throwing out that type of stuff…

    By the way, I havent said that I actually agreed with Maine’s statement, maybe I do, maybe I dont. My point is that it is unreal for me to see that so many people require their favorite singers to line their belief system up with theirs before they will enjoy their music. Why does anyone care what her, Trace Adkins, John Rich, Alec Baldwin, Bruce Springsteen or anyone else think about such important matters?

  31. Rick
    March 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    The first million selling single by a solo female artist in the US was also controversial at the time. When Patsy Montana sang that by wanting to be a cowboy’s sweetheart she also wanted to “learn to rope and ride”, she was ruffling some feathers as that was not considered a women’s place at the time.

    I purchased Iris DeMent’s “Infamous Angel” back when it was released in the 80’s due to a review by Alanna Nash and have enjoyed it since. A few years ago I purchased a used copy of “The Way I Should” and after hearing “Wasteland of The Free” I took it back into the store and got credit. That song is politically correct passionate idiocy perfectly in sync with the deluded liberal mindset and would be right at home on a recent Steve Earle or James McMurtry album. The problems Iris highlights in that song are mostly due to liberal social engineering carried out by Democrats in D.C. over the years, yet she points an accusatory finger at conservatives and Bush. Kind of like Obama Bin DoggyDoo trashing our economy further with all his outrageous spending bills and then he will blame Republicans for the resulting financial carnage because “they wouldn’t let him do enough!”. When “W” Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq Iris came out on a concert stage somewhere and said she was so upset by Bush’s actions she couldn’t perform that night. What a piece of work….

  32. idlewildsouth
    March 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Id never heard “She Thinks His Name Is John”, but im glad you turned me on to it. Nothing quite as good as a good ole sad country song.

    @ Mike K..your point is exactly what I love about Tom T. Hall. His verions of different songs dont come across as judgemental or condescending, but observations.

    As far as the Dixie Chicks discussion goes…I listen to plenty of musicians that have politics completely opposite from mine. Im a staunch, unapologetic conservative Christian, but my favorite musicians are the writers like Darrell Scott, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle. Its not an issue of me being offended by their politics, its a matter of me being annoyed at their behavior. First of all, the only reason she said it was because they were in London, and she knew itd get the crowd going. Its the same reason people would say “Wow, isnt it great to be in Detroit tonight?” Secondly, the reason when Im at work at a local grocery store, I keep my mouth shut about things that might offend my customer. I have every right to speak my mind when they mention things I disagree with, but they have every right not to shop their anymore. Sadly, for the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines doesnt seem to grasp that concept.

  33. Kelly
    March 2, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    I am with you Idlewild, “Free Speech” goes both ways,and to me the fact that she was likely pandering to the crowd actually bugs me way more than what she actually said.

    I just cant help but think that one must not have been that big of a fan of an artist if merely disagreeing with their politics makes them become so violently opposed to ever caring for that artist again…

  34. Ron
    March 2, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    When I read the topic, my first thought was Loretta Lynn and Kitty Wells. I was happy to see them #1 and #2. A slight quibble though as Loretta Lynn has to be #1 for “The Pill”. If you listen to those lyrics and consider the era and the fact that it was Country Music, it was really a gutsy song. Add “The Wings Upon Your Horns” and she is #1.

    On Iris Dement, “Letter To Mom” was one of the better songs on “The Way I Should”. I thought the song “Wasteland of the Free” was a bit predictable. Dement isn’t a protest singer. Her first two albums were much better than “The Way I Should”. Listen to songs like “Our Town” and “My Life” instead.

  35. Nicolas
    March 2, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    “Not Ready to Make Nice” is one of my favorite songs, and I found it absolutely hillarious that they released that (and the Taking the Long Way album) and landed 5 grammies and still sold 2 million

    I hope they make another album soon =D

  36. Noah Eaton
    March 2, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Ignoring the politics permeating this discussion, I will say, in my opinion, I find “Lubbock Or Leave It” an arguably even more controversial song than “Not Ready To Make Nice” (I noticed we’re referring to “songs” here, and not “singles” specifically, so thought it was worth pointing this album track out)

    My belief is, in the most part, many who were upset with Maines regarding her opinion of Bush in the United Kingdom (and subsequently Maguire’s opinion on patriotism) have since moved on from that, believing it’s the music that’s umpteen times more important………yet some may still be upset at the Dixie Chicks for some comments regarding the mainstream country establishment at large, particularly when Martie Maguire said in June of 2006: “I’d rather have a small following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc (CD) changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith. We don’t want those kind of fans. They limit what you can do.”

    I think it has more to do with their outspoken criticism of the present country establishment, rather than their Bush-era politics, that have sinewed the Dixie Chicks’ “outlaw” status on contemporary country radio. I can say right now there are things they’ve said I agree with, and things where I think they hit below the belt or cross the line a bit. That said, I don’t let personal beliefs discolor how I view their music, and I for one enjoyed listening to their music, particularly “Home”, growing up, and find “Sin Wagon”, “Goodbye Earl”, “Truth No. 2″ and their cover of “Top of the World” among my favorite country tracks in recent memory.

    I can say the same thing with Toby Keith, who is also known for his outspoken views. I don’t agree with some of what he says, but I don’t let it affect how I view his music. I gauge artists based on their artistic output and appreciation of it, not their opinions.

  37. Razor X
    March 2, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    “I just cant help but think that one must not have been that big of a fan of an artist if merely disagreeing with their politics makes them become so violently opposed to ever caring for that artist again… ”

    I liked the Dixie Chicks before all of this brouhaha came up. I was annoyed by the initial comments — annoyed that they were pandering to the crowd as you said, and annoyed that they were so insensitive to the fact that their country was on the brink of war and that their comments would upset a lot of soldiers’ families. I was annoyed to stop listening to them for a while, but figured I would go back once the controversy had died down. But it was their subsequent behavior — the cover of Rolling Stone, the retraction of their apology to President Bush, the Toby Keith feud (particularly the FUTK T-shirt on the CMA or ACM show), the disrespectful remarks about their colleagues and their fans, and their overall obnoxious behavior that really put me off them forever. They don’t want fans who are also fans of Reba McEntire? Fine, it was fun while it lasted gals, but I’m outta here.

    I don’t expect artists I like to share my personal belief system, but occasionally there are artists who are just so annoying that it completely ruins their music for me. And sadly, the Dixie Chicks now fall into that category.

  38. Jon
    March 2, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    “They don’t want fans who are also fans of Reba McEntire?”

    I don’t think that’s quite what Martie was saying. I think she was saying that they want fans who appreciate them for what they are as artists and musicians, rather than fans who are interested in them because they are defined and presented as stars of a particular genre. But that statement doesn’t really have anything to do with the “country music establishment.”

  39. Razor X
    March 2, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    >>I don’t think that’s quite what Martie was saying.<<

    That’s exactly what she did say.

  40. livewire
    March 3, 2009 at 12:30 am

    Im surprised Sin Wagon isnt on there to by the Dixie Chicks.
    Great list tough !

  41. Jon
    March 3, 2009 at 8:17 am

    >>I don’t think that’s quite what Martie was saying.<<

    That’s exactly what she did say.”

    Well, no, it’s not. At least, not in the quote Noah Eaton supplied. It’s not only not “exact,” it’s not enough very close.

  42. Chris N.
    March 3, 2009 at 9:53 am

    She meant the group wanted fans that regarded the Chicks as more than just another act on country radio. That’s pretty obvious unless you’re purposely trying to read something else into the sentence.

  43. Razor X
    March 3, 2009 at 10:05 am

    She said they didn’t want the type of fan that would put a Dixie Chicks CD in a 5-CD changer along with Toby Keith and Reba McEntire CDs. Now, if you are or were a fan that fits that description, what other conclusion is there to be drawn other than they don’t want you? Words mean things, you know.

  44. Jon
    March 3, 2009 at 10:35 am

    “She said they didn’t want the type of fan that would put a Dixie Chicks CD in a 5-CD changer along with Toby Keith and Reba McEntire CDs. Now, if you are or were a fan that fits that description, what other conclusion is there to be drawn other than they don’t want you? Words mean things, you know.”

    Indeed they do – all of them, not just a half-sentence’s worth. If you read the full sentence, instead of tendentiously stripping off the first half, what she meant was quite clear – and it’s nowhere close to the idea that “they don’t want fans who are also fans of Reba McEntire.”

    The idea that artists prefer fans who appreciate them for their music and creativity and follow what they do (“grow with us”) to fans who buy their product because of some more generalized and perhaps transitory interest in the genre they are slotted into at a given point in time is hardly unusual, and shouldn’t be that difficult to grasp.

  45. Michael
    March 3, 2009 at 10:48 am

    It all comes down to the music and it is my opinion that the Dixie Chicks make great music. I find John Rich to be obnoxious and his political views couldn’t be more different from mine… but that’s not the reason I won’t buy his album. I won’t pick up his CD because his voice and lyrics are bland, boring, uninspired and unremarkable.

  46. Razor X
    March 3, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Jon, can you spin until you’re dizzy. There is no way those statements can be interpreted as anything but disrespectful to their fans. They should be appreciative whenever someone buys their music, regardless of the reason, and regardless of whether they are the type that will “grow” with them.

  47. Jon
    March 3, 2009 at 11:22 am

    “There is no way those statements can be interpreted as anything but disrespectful to their fans.”

    Well of course there is. And it’s not disrespectful to anyone to express a preference for fans who are fans of *you* as an artist as opposed to fans who are simply (and perhaps only for the moment) fans of the genre in which you happen to be working at any given moment. Ray Price would have told you exactly the same thing back in the early 60s, and if you think Reba McEntire thinks any differently about it, you’re almost certainly deluding yourself.

    I don’t give a rip whether you like the Dixie Chicks or not, but to insist on distorting a perfectly comprehensible and widely held view on the relationship between artist and audience as a part of your case against them is neither necessary nor wise.

  48. idlewildsouth
    March 3, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    As an aspiring songwriter, I would like for anyone to be a fan of my songs. They could put a cd with my song on it in the changer with Gregorian chant and T.I. and thatd be fine with me, just as long as they have my cd in their changer, thats my only request.

  49. Stormy
    March 3, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    You have to remember context, too. In the case of Holly Dunn we had just gotten to the point as a society where we had finally gotten acknowledgement of date rape as a crime and all of a sudden she comes along with this. With the Chicks’ comment about Toby Keith and Reba McEntire. This was right after Toby Keith sunk to new lows with I Wanna Talk About Me and Reba McEntire bought a #1 slot for Somebody. If you were someone who had spent a career fighting to be witty and country and against the corruption in the industry would you want to support people who made it dumber, less country and more corrupt?

  50. Razor X
    March 3, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    “And it’s not disrespectful to anyone to express a preference for fans who are fans of *you* as an artist as opposed to fans who are simply (and perhaps only for the moment) fans of the genre in which you happen to be working at any given moment.”

    What is wrong with you?? She said in plain English that they don’t want certain kinds of fans. That’s not a distortion. It’s what she said. Period.

  51. Stormy
    March 3, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Razor, please remember too that it was a very few years before that comment that many of these fans were wrecking their albums in public events.

  52. Paul W Dennis
    March 3, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    “Maybe I Mean Yes” was the victim of the political correctness that afflicts too much of our society. It was a decent song that the PC police hounded off the radio. I lost a lot of repect for Holly Dunn when she urged radio programmers not to play the song. Had she simply let it play out, it would have been a top ten record. As it was, she torpedoed her own career with her fecklessness

    When Randy Travis recorded What’ll You Do About Me” the song was accepted for what it was – just another song with a humorous angle. When Doug Supernaw remade the song a few years, he was accused of recording a song about stalking.

    Horsefeathers !

  53. Stormy
    March 3, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    I don’t think you can quite get the Holly Dunn thing unless you were on the female side of the equation.

  54. Razor X
    March 3, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    I’ve never understood how anyone could think that any woman would ever write a song that is pro-rape.

  55. Juli
    March 3, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Razor, it’s not a pro-rape song, but if you look at the excuses often given when date rape is committed “she said no, but meant yes” or “she wanted it even if she wouldn’t admit it” are very prominent. So while Dunn’s song isn’t in favor of rape–and I can’t think of a song that would be–it’s certainly not helping matters, especially because at the time of its release, the perceptions of date rape were often very similar to the excuses provided above.

    Thanks to domestic violence awareness site Hope for Healing for providing these date rape myths as well as some horrifying statistics. http://www.hopeforhealing.org/

    And now, back to the music. I think next time I tackle a “controversial songs” list the Dixie Chicks will take up at least half of the slots, at least according to the amount of debate they’ve generated here.

  56. Paul W Dennis
    March 4, 2009 at 5:13 am

    Sorry Juli, but the reaction of most women I know (to “Maybe I Mean Yes”) was about the same as mine. The song doesn’t provoke anyone to action, any more than ‘Twinkies’ provoke one to violence

    For Loretta Lynn, the controversy started much earlier than the songs you cited. “You Ain’t Woman Enough”, “Don’t Come Home A Drinkin’ ” and “Your Squaw Is On The Warpath” were hardly typical radio fare, either

    Dolly Parton’s “To Daddy” stirred up some heat when it was released

    While I love Kitty Wells , her song was more in the form of a lament than any of the others listed

  57. Bill
    March 4, 2009 at 6:20 am

    Now, let’s talk some business here. We all know who the Queen of Country music is to this day. It is the great LORETTA LYNN. There has not been a country music singer so controversial as Loretta and her songs. She not only sings from the heart but also sings about her life and everybody elses life. There is not one person that can not relate to her lyrics even if they do not like country music or her style. She just plain tells it like it is and does not miss a beat. She is just plain honest and sweet at the same time. I have attended her concerts; beleive even in her concerts she is what she sings about and never misses a beat. We need more honest, down to earth people like Loretta. She is what American life is all about and I don’t mean just cheating songs either. Loretta, don’t stop now and if you would you are definitely one of the greatest all time country music people and a great human being of all times. I also think Tammy, Dolly, Kelly Pickler, Taylor Swift are also some of the greats of country music and people in life that are honest and down to earth. They have what no one else has and that is they have lived their songs. Go ladies.

  58. Stormy
    March 4, 2009 at 6:46 am

    Razor: Because the lyrics to that song state “when I say no I mean maybe or maybe I mean yes.” To give a little more perspective on this song, in two seperate advice columns this year alone two seperate girls around the age of 20 wrote in because they had an experience where a guy they knew kept pushing them to have sex despite their objections until they just gave up to get it over with. Neither of them knew what to call that and had to contact advice columns to find out its called rape. Things like Holly’s song not only muddy the waters for these girls, but also the guys who traumatized them.

    Bill: I thought the Queen of Country was Kitty Wells.

  59. Jon
    March 4, 2009 at 7:01 am

    “What is wrong with you?? She said in plain English that they don’t want certain kinds of fans. That’s not a distortion. It’s what she said. Period.”

    If you honestly think that taking that sentence out of its context isn’t distortion, then I feel sorry for you.

  60. Dan Milliken
    March 4, 2009 at 9:26 am

    I totally get what the Natalie meant with the “CD changer” comment, and I respect it. But I do think it seemed a bit presumptuous to explicitly blame a faction of fans for limiting what the group could do artistically, especially since they were able to release a largely un-commercial album (Home) that fans ate up anyway before the Bush comment. If she just meant that she wanted fans whose love wasn’t so fragile that it could be crushed by an ideological difference, she could have just said that.

    Of course, that was an interview, and one only has so much time to think through how one’s words are going to be perceived. So I certainly don’t hold it against her, even if I wish the wording could have been better.

  61. Chris N.
    March 4, 2009 at 10:09 am

    I’m sure she wishes she had phrased it in a way that couldn’t so readily be misinterpreted, but I maintain that a great many people purposely misinterpreted it when they knew full well what she meant.

  62. Stormy
    March 4, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Re The Chicks:

    I think a lot of people need to remember, it is absolutely your right to stop buying an artists albums if you don’t agree with their politics. There is, however, no obligation on the part of the artist to miss you or try to win you back.

  63. Dan Milliken
    March 4, 2009 at 10:27 am

    “a great many people purposely misinterpreted it when they knew full well what she meant.”

    Sad, and probably very true.

  64. Jon
    March 4, 2009 at 11:06 am

    It wasn’t Natalie who made the quoted remark, it was Martie, and I point that out not to nitpick but to remind that she and Emily had already accumulated some experience in dealing with the reaction of genre-oriented fans of their cowgirlgrass to their change in musical direction back in the 90s.

    This really isn’t an atypical attitude among artists, if you get the chance to talk to them about it. In their interview with Country Universe, Dailey & Vincent get at more or less the same thing (albeit more, um, felicitously expressed) when they talk about making a push to do more Dailey & Vincent hard ticket concerts over doing more bluegrass festivals. That’s an outlook that’s shared, if only in theory, by most every serious bluegrass group I know.

    I think that’s because bluegrass (which, again, Martie Maguire has had some experience with) is kind of the extreme case when it comes to the way that genre-oriented fans *can* limit an artist as far as changes in musical direction are concerned. Artists who are able to really develop their own fans–people who want to hear what they’re doing more than they want to hear what they’re doing only in a specific genre context–are in a much better position to do what they’d like artistically than those who aren’t.

    So while it’s clear that Maguire’s comment was shaped by the preceding controversy, it’s equally clear that the content cannot reasonably be reduced to a statement that they don’t want fans who are Reba McEntire fans. It just can’t.

  65. Dan Milliken
    March 4, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    “It wasn’t Natalie who made the quoted remark, it was Martie”

    Whoops, my bad.

  66. Razor X
    March 4, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    ” Artists who are able to really develop their own fans–people who want to hear what they’re doing more than they want to hear what they’re doing only in a specific genre context–are in a much better position to do what they’d like artistically than those who aren’t.”

    It still boils down to the fact that they don’t want certain types of fans. If their goal is to expand their fanbase to include people who don’t normally listen to country music, fine. Why can’t they just say so without disparaging the current fanbase?

  67. Razor X
    March 4, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    “I think a lot of people need to remember, it is absolutely your right to stop buying an artists albums if you don’t agree with their politics. There is, however, no obligation on the part of the artist to miss you or try to win you back.”

    That’s true enough. But the artist should also bear in mind that if she speaks out and alienates a large group of people, she shouldn’t then turn around and try to present herself as the victim because people are upset with her.

  68. Leeann Ward
    March 4, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    The problem is that people got more than just “upset” at her. I’m cool with people disagreeing and even refusing to buy their albums, which is what I’m assuming is the level of the Chicks detractors on this thread, but I’m not okay with the more serious response against them, including by Clear Channel mandating that they were not to be played. That’s almost too Orwellian for my taste…. not to mention other frighteningly extreme reactions toward them.

    Of course, I have no fantasy that I’m going to convince anyone of anything. Furthermore, I’m fully aware that there is a counter argument to any argument I could make in this debate. So, I’m just saying part of my opinion on this matter (there’s so much more), just for the heck of it, since I know we’ve all gone around about this a zillion plus times.
    I just want to also mention that I completely disagree with Paul’s dismissive opinion regarding the Holly Dunn song. I probably don’t need to state my reasons, but, as a woman, I just feel too compelled to add my voice to Juli’s choir on this one.

  69. Razor X
    March 4, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    ” … I’m not okay with the more serious response against them, including by Clear Channel mandating that they were not to be played. That’s almost too Orwellian for my taste…. not to mention other frighteningly extreme reactions toward them.”

    I’m certainly not condoning threats of physical violence towards anyone. I’m not saying you implied that I did, Leann, but did want to make that clear to everyone. As for Clear Channel, they’re within their rights not to play the Chicks’ music. I sense that was a business decision more than a political one. They can probably point to some market research done at the time that shows that people didn’t want to hear from the Chicks. They disappeared from my local station, which is not owned by Clear Channel, for a while but eventually they went back to playing their older stuff.

  70. Stormy
    March 4, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Clear Channel is within their rights, which is scary. Because, aren’t the airwaves supposed to belong to the public and not private industry?

  71. nm
    March 4, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    It wasn’t Clear Channel, it was Cumulus. It was not a business decision; the Sinclair family, which owns Cumulus, has been known to force its TV stations to broadcast political material instead of ad-revenue-generating programming, and at about the same time was requiring its radio stations to play “patriotic” material completely unrelated to the rest of their playlists. And considering that part of the Congressional deal allowing chains like those two to own multiple stations in many markets is that they would treat the airwaves as a public trust, not as a possession, I’m not at all sure they were within their rights.

  72. Peter
    March 4, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Rick said: “Wasteland of The Free” … is politically correct passionate idiocy perfectly in sync with the deluded liberal mindset… The problems Iris highlights in that song are mostly due to liberal social engineering carried out by Democrats in D.C. over the years, yet she points an accusatory finger at conservatives ”

    where on earth in these lyrics do you get that, Rick?

    “We got CEO’s making two hundred times the workers’ pay
    but they’ll fight like hell against raising the minimum wage
    and If you don’t like it, mister, they’ll ship your job
    to some third-world country ‘cross the sea”

    and if I may quote Ms. Dement here again:

    “We kill for oil, then we throw a party when we win
    Some guy refuses to fight, and we call that the sin
    but he’s standing up for what he believes in
    and that seems pretty damned American to me”

    I fail to see any of what you’re talking about here

  73. Razor X
    March 4, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    “Clear Channel is within their rights, which is scary. Because, aren’t the airwaves supposed to belong to the public and not private industry?”

    The airwaves belong to the public but the transmitters and the stations themselves do not. What would your remedy be, having the government regulate program content. Now, THAT would be really scary.

  74. Leeann Ward
    March 4, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Ah…sorry…Cumulus. Even if they’re within their rights or whatever, I still have a problem with it. I suspect it was a political decision based on public outcry.

  75. Jim Malec
    March 4, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Yes, public ownership of anything is bad. Private ownership is the way! The government may not have my best interests in mind, but I know all those rich property owners do.

  76. Razor X
    March 4, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    So, Jim are you saying that the government should own all broadcast and print media outlets?

  77. Razor X
    March 4, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    “Ah…sorry…Cumulus. Even if they’re within their rights or whatever, I still have a problem with it. I suspect it was a political decision based on public outcry.”

    Well, if one subscribes to the view that the airwaves belong to the public, then they did the right thing by responding to public outcry, right?

  78. nm
    March 4, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    There’s no evidence that they were responding to public outcry, though. No logs of angry calls to the stations, no letters from listeners, nothing like that. There’s a lot of reason to believe that the Sinclair family just decided that since they personally were mad at the Dixie Chicks, none of their stations could play the group’s music.

  79. Peter
    March 4, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Good point Jim; Here in “socialist Canada” our banks are much more regulated than yours down there and so far we haven’t had to bail any of ‘em out.

    Nice to see the neo-cons stewing in the mess they made for themselves…

  80. Razor X
    March 4, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Peter,

    Why have the banks in “socialist Europe” needed to be bailed out then?

  81. Jim Malec
    March 4, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    “So, Jim are you saying that the government should own all broadcast and print media outlets?”

    No, as a matter of fact I’m not. I am saying that unregulated private ownership is not the answer to all of the world’s problems.

  82. Jim Malec
    March 4, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    “Why have the banks in “socialist Europe” needed to be bailed out then?”

    So the worst you can really do is “socialism is as bad is capitalism?” Because that’s what that amounts to.

    I don’t fancy myself a “socialist,” but I can tell you that I spent quite a while in “socialist” Austria, a place where they have a far higher standard of living than we have in America. They sure do pay a lot of taxes, though.

  83. Razor X
    March 4, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    “So the worst you can really do is “socialism is as bad is capitalism?”

    I didn’t say that at all. I’m just pointing out that the “socialist” system was just as susceptible in much of the world. I could say a lot more about this, but I won’t because we’re veering way off topic.

  84. Leeann Ward
    March 4, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Yeah, I really should have said perceived public outcry, though there was clearly a public backlash against them fueled by radio stations calling for CD “burning” parties. I don’t know that I subscribe to the government owning the airwaves either. I doubt that GW would have done things differently. It just shouldn’t have happened that way.

  85. Leeann Ward
    March 4, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    By the way, it’s been fun, but I’m officially done with this particular conversation. As I said before, this debate’s been going on for years and all of our opinions are surely cemented at this point, which is fine, but I just feel like I’m reading a “broken record” or watching Groundhog Day and I much prefer Bill Murray’s acting.:)

  86. MIke K
    March 4, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    “Don’t drive angry!”

  87. Peter
    March 4, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Razor – maybe they weren’t socialist enough ;)

    I’m outie too Leeann….

  88. Stormy
    March 4, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Or, the actual alternative would be a system of transparancy and anti-monopoly ownership regulations which require localized ownerships and proof that stations are playing what the fans want and not what the labels pay for.

    What surprised me most about that whole side of things is how willing we were to believe that they were listening to us then when there were so many examples of times when they had not let us request what we wanted in the past.

  89. Cardsgal
    March 5, 2009 at 11:25 am

    To those who think Loretta Lynn should be #1 on this list: Without Kitty Wells, there might never have been a Loretta Lynn! “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” was the FIRST song in which a SOLO woman (not a “girl singer” in a family group) sang from a feminine perspective and, in doing so, became country’s first female superstar. That was *all* pretty dang controversial. Loretta just waltzed through the door that Kitty opened…

  90. tracy
    March 6, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Okay…Kitty’s song was remarkable for it’s time…But as for Loretta waltzing through the door Kitty opened…it led to a small room where Loretta had to knock out holes in many walls,and created doors for the rest or them!!!

  91. Erik
    March 6, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Great list. I’m going to check out a few of these songs.

  92. Leeann Ward
    March 7, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Juli,
    Just wanted to say that I’m officially hooked on Iris Dement! Coincidentally, on the exact day of this article, a friend of ours randomly gave us a copy of Infamous Angel, which was enough to hook me. I’ve since purchased My Life and The Way I Should</i<. They’re both great! I found Lifeline on Emusic, so I have to wait for my tracks to refresh before getting that one. I love “discovering” someone who already has a few albums out.

  93. JC
    March 7, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    All the songs that deal with women killing their husbands. Would the songs be heard the same if it were husbands killing the wives for the same reason?

  94. Juli
    March 8, 2009 at 4:32 am

    Not too long ago, murder songs like “Millers Cave” and “Knoxville Girl” were pretty popular, and the murderers in that story didn’t even have the excuse of spousal abuse to fall back on. But as with “Goodbye Earl,” etc. abuse of any kind justifies murder in several mainstream country songs in recent memory, including Tim McGraw’s “Between the River and Me” (one of his better songs, IMO).

    But if someone mainstream male artist had the guts to record something like “Millers Cave” or “They’re Hanging Me Tonight” these days and release it as a single, I think a whole lot of folks would be up in arms. I also doubt that one of NashVegas’ nonthreatening boys would be able to pull such a thing off. Jamey Johnson could, but probably not too many others. I personally love murder ballads of all kinds, but I can see how your average 18-35 female radio listener wouldn’t unless it’s something that can be packaged as “girl power.”

    Leeann: Yay! You’re one of us…one of us…one of us…

  95. Occasional Hope
    March 8, 2009 at 4:58 am

    You could make a claim for Ol’ Red, recorded most recently by Blake Shelton (and previously by George Jones). The protagonist in that appears to have killed his cheating wife and her lover (and expresses no remorse either).

  96. nm
    March 8, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I think someone could get away with “Millers Cave” even now, since the narrator is punished (by fate) for what he’s done. What I find striking is that there have been so many very popular songs about men killing women for no reason whatsoever, but no woman has dared to do a song about killing a man without a whole bushel of reasons.

    More than that, even in “Independence Day” the narrator isn’t the one who does the killing; I think “Goodbye Earl” was the first to use the first person about a woman killing her husband, although songs about men killing women have been in the first person for centuries.

  97. Leeann Ward
    March 8, 2009 at 9:41 am

    I can’t quite remember, but is “Goodbye Earl” actually told in the first person?

    It seems that in music, women kill men due to domestic abuse and men kill women because of affairs. Now, I’m not a proponent of killing for either reason, but it seems that one does warrant a bit more desperation over the other.

  98. Stormy
    March 8, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Goodbye Earl is told in third person.

    Neko Case has quite a few murder ballads told from quite a few perspectives.

  99. nm
    March 8, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Yeah, you’re right about “Goodbye Earl.” I guess I’m remembering the video, which makes it feel more like “us” than like “she.” I think Leeann is wrong about men kill women in songs because of affairs. Often it’s completely unmotivated, and sometimes it’s “just to see her jump and crawl.”

  100. Jane Hopkins
    March 9, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Loretta Lynns songs always hit close to home. I’m A sick women now, if I could do anything on earth it would be to meet her.

  101. Jane Hopkins
    March 9, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    I made A mistake on my last comment, I meant I would love to meet, Loretta Lynn

  102. scott507
    March 13, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    i can’t believe we’re still debating the chicks years later. Natalie was right all along. Bush was the worst president ever. Go Dixie Chicks!

  103. Pete
    March 16, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    with regards to the baking discussion above, I wanted to share this with everyone…

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/183670

  104. Pete
    March 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    baking = banking – must be lunchtime ;)

  105. JoFresh
    March 31, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    If you like female country, just got turn on to this girl. *WARNING* For REAL Country/ Southern Rock fans!!!! – Miranda Lambert – her new album is out and she’s on tour with KENNY CHESNEY http://www.myspace.com/mirandalambert

  106. terry
    April 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Loretta is the best at putting a man or theiving woman in their place. I say you go girl.

    as for the dixie chicks i am tired of people putting them down for say way back what we could not, and now we are glad that he is gone. i say to them way to go girls!!!

  107. Sarah
    October 31, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    “Move on! I have to assume you have a hard time filling your Ipod with artists that only believe in the same things and agree with you on every subject. OOOH, they dissed Pres Bush!! As with any other Dixie Chicks hater, I cant help but wonder what you would feel if someone actually bashed Obama on foreign soil…

    The items that make most of the songs on this list “scandalous” are far more serious and even sinister than the fact that Natalie bad-mouthed the Prez while on foreign soil, get a grip…”

    They didn’t only diss President Bush.. Natalie had a bit more than that to say. Weather Bush was the best or the worst President, the fact is that it was the most unpatriotic thing they could have said. And in return, their careers went to sh*t. I choose not to listen to them when the radio plays them. As a Marine, I don’t think he did that bad of a job. But everyone who has an opinion about what is going on outside of our country are usually the ones who don’t really have a clue as to what ‘really’ is going on.

  108. AnnaLee
    November 13, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    These songs suck. The title for this post should read “Most Controversial COUNTRY Songs By Women”. If it had been titled correctly, I never would have wasted my time reading it.

  109. gabrielle
    November 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Holly Dunn’s maybe i mean Yes had nuttin to do with rape or anything people mistook this song these stupid people who ran after her for this song should be ashamed of them selfs this was just fun loving song people took it the wrong way nothing to do with rape period

  110. gabrielle
    November 20, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Fancy was another song that should get people mad either whats wrong with ppeople these days people getting mad for NO reason for pete’s sake

  111. Stormy
    November 20, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Gabrielle: “When I say no I mean maybe or maybe I mean yes.”

    No. When I say no, I mean no.
    As I recall there was a fairly sizable no-means-no related case in the media around the same time as this song came out.

  112. sam sam
    November 20, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Looking back, it seems pretty small minded that CMT would ban a midriff, especially Shania’s. We should have more midriffs on cmt, not less.

  113. sam sam
    November 20, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    and at least for holly dunn, no sometimes means yes. So no doesn’t always mean no.

  114. Chimesfreedom
    April 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    One thing that is so great about this list is the number of incredible songs that are here, including your number one by Kitty Wells. For a few of these songs, I will have to go back and listen to them again. Thanks!

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Current Discussion

  • Paul W Dennis: This album is next on my must-acquire list. I remember listening to Mac on the WWVA Big Jamboree in the …
  • Paul W Dennis: I don't usually agree with Luckyoldsun but he's right - "Girl In A Country Song" reeks. On the other …
  • andythedrifter: "It Sure Can Get Cold In Des Moines"
  • Donald: LOS, I need to second your mention of Ballad of Forty Dollars.
  • Paul W Dennis: Best wishes for Jim Ed Brown - there's very few left from his generation of country singers John Morthland's article on …
  • Paul W Dennis: That looks like Harold Morrison playing the dobro behind Jeannie C Riley on "Harper Valley PTA"
  • luckyoldsun: Got to go with "The Ballad of Forty Dollars." Funny, if you saw the title and started listening to that song …
  • Randy Prewitt: I would have to say my favorite Tom T.Hall song is "The Day Clayton Delaney Died.He has so many great …
  • KathyP: "Faster Horses." Which reminds me I need to add it to my digital library.
  • Leeann Ward: "Me and Jesus" and "Harper Valley PTA" are my favorites, I think. But I agree with Paul that it's not …

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