- The Dolly Parton song that was deemed ‘too sexual’ for the radio
- What ‘Touch Your Woman’ is about
- Other Parton songs that were banned from the radio
Dolly Parton has written a few songs that were deemed too this or too that for their time by country radio stations. “Touch Your Woman” is one of those songs. When it first came out, some stations deemed it “too sexual.” But the Queen of Country argues that it’s “innocent and pure” along with being “sexy” and “intimate.”
‘Touch Your Woman’
“Touch Your Woman” was the title track of Parton’s 1972 album of the same name. The song is about the powerful physical connection shared between two lovers. Physical intimacy between people who love each other can both mend fights and provide comfort when life gets hard.
“There are times when I should be strong, when I’m awfully weak, when the sudden blows of life have brought me to my knees. Woman needs a helpin’ hand, needs someone to understand, needs the man she loves to help her stand. So touch your woman.”
“This was another of Dolly’s songs that some country stations resisted playing because they found it too sexual,” reads the Queen of Country’s 2020 book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, which was co-authored by Robert K. Oermann.
But, eventually, the song worked its way to No. 6 on the country charts. “Touch Your Woman” was even later recorded by soul artist Margie Joseph.
What Dolly Parton has to say about ‘Touch Your Woman’
“I think this is a very sweet song, and a really good love song,” she wrote in her book. “It talks about the couple’s sensuous, sexual, tender relationship. But it also says, ‘We’re bound to fight.’ When it is all said and done, all you gotta do is just touch your woman, and let me know that everything’s gonna be okay.”
To Parton, the song wasn’t too inappropriate to be played on the radio. If anything, it’s “pure.”
“It’s sexy, and it’s intimate,” she wrote. “But it is also innocent and pure. It’s ‘just let me know you love me.’ Touch me, and let’s get back to where we’ve been and how we got together to start with. We can’t let some little upset make us get bitter and calloused. Let our love build and grow. Just touch me, tell me that you’re sorry, or let me say that I’m sorry. Whoever is sorry, let’s just do it and touch again.”
Other Dolly Parton songs that didn’t get radio time because of their content
“Touch Your Woman” was not the first song Parton released that radio stations were hesitant to play. “Down From Dover” is about a teenager who becomes pregnant and tries to conceal her pregnancy while she waits for her love to return. If he comes back for her before her community finds out she’s pregnant, she won’t be ostracized. But he doesn’t and her family kicks her out. He never returns for her and the baby dies.
“They wouldn’t play it on the radio back at that time,” Parton told journalist Jad Abumrad on the podcast, Dolly Parton’s America. “It’s one of my best songs ever.”
“They wouldn’t play it on the radio, not because the kid died, but because she got pregnant,” the “Jolene” singer continued. “Because she — it was an illegitimate [pregnancy].”
“Eagle When She Flies” is another song that didn’t get ample radio play because stations branded it too feminist.
“This Song’s music video featured images of women from all walks of life in a visual tapestry,” reads Parton’s book. “Conservative radio programmers branded the single as ‘too feminist,’ hampering its airplay.”
Even though it was frustrating to the “9 to 5” singer that radio stations wouldn’t play some of her songs, she wouldn’t change the music she wrote if she could go back.
“I wrote a lot of songs that people wouldn’t play on the radio, but I didn’t care,” wrote Parton. “It bothered me at the time, but I never thought, ‘I shouldn’t have done that.’ Whatever I write is just what comes out of me, and I refuse to be judged.”
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