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Rita Coolidge: 44 years ago today, “I’d Rather Leave When I’m in Love” debuted at #83 on the Billboard Hot 100
November 17, 2023

I was too young to remember this song when it first came out. The first memory of it was circa 1981. My family was hanging out with another family out in Conrad, Iowa. I believe our dads worked together at the pork packing plant. These family friends were VERY country! But it was always so fun going to their house and vice versa.

Our parents were all drunk that night. We (the kids) were either outside playing with the chickens, hogs, etc.; or inside taking sips of beer we stole from the adults. At some point, our parents and a few other people were dancing to a slow song that never left my head. It was Rita Coolidge.

I didn’t hear “I’d Rather Leave When I’m in Love” again for a few years. Back then you had to quickly press the record button on a cassette recorder, place the microphone up to the T.V., and get as much of the audio as possible. It sounded awful. But I listened to this song over and over again for three straight days. Why an 8-9 year old kid would love this song…that’s just me.

“I’d Rather Leave When I’m in Love” peaked at #38 on the Billboard Hot 100 on January 12, 1980. It topped out at #3 on the Adult Contemporary Charts on January 5, 1980.

We were crazy kids in the 1980s. Natalie was my first kiss when I was 6-7. Robin was second, at age 7. I was writing poems about girls in 1981. Rita Coolidge inspired some of my very first writings that I still have to this day (though the paper is on its last legs).

I’ll always, hopelessly, believe “the meaning of the word.” Detrimental or otherwise.

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