"Loretta" as written by and Townes Van Zandt....
Oh Loretta she's a barroom girl
Wears them sevens on her sleeve
Dances like a diamond shines
Tell me lies I love to believe
Her age is always 22
Her laughing eyes a hazel hue
Spends my money like water falls
Loves me like I want her to

Oh, Loretta, won't you say to me
Darling, put your guitar on
Have a little shot of booze
Play a blue a and wailing song
My guitar rings a melody
My guitar sings, Loretta's fine
Long and lazy, blonde and free
And I can have her any time

Sweetest at the break of day
Prettiest in the setting sun
She don't cry when I can't stay
'Least not 'til she's all alone
Loretta, I won't be gone long
Keep your dancing slippers on
Keep me on your mind a while
I'll be back, babe, to make you smile


Lyrics submitted by The BK

"Loretta" as written by

Lyrics © BUG MUSIC O/B/O KATIE BELLE MUSIC

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Loretta song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentI've always thought that Loretta is a prostitute that the singer is in love with, or maybe he just thoroughly enjoys her company. But several lines seem to reinforce that idea; how she's a barroom girl, and she loves like the singer wants her to. She always seems to want to have fun, and she wants the singer to have fun too (which seems uncommon in conventional relationships). And of course, how Loretta doesn't care when the singer leaves, so long as there are other customers to take his place.
    The BKon January 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've always thought that Loretta is a prostitute that the singer is in love with, or maybe he just thoroughly enjoys her company. But several lines seem to reinforce that idea; how she's a barroom girl, and she loves like the singer wants her to. She always seems to want to have fun, and she wants the singer to have fun too (which seems uncommon in conventional relationships). And of course, how Loretta doesn't care when the singer leaves, so long as there are other customers to take his place.
    The BKon January 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't know about that whole prostitute thing. I think it's just the age ol' girl in love with the traveling musician thing. If she were a prostitute he wouldn't be "coming home" to her. She's young, he's hot and older and more important than anything, an amazing musician, she's putting on a brave face for when he leaves. That's just my take. :o)
    yourfacesmellson August 20, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor a period after leaving Fran, Townes had ties to a girl named Bianca who was 16 at the time of their relations, but claimed her age was 22. Maybe this could explain the "Her age is always 22" line.
    sun_gianton February 08, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationIts about a working girl that the singer has a special relationship with - its an honest deal. Even working girls have their favorite people - there is love in that connection. Everyone gets lonely and they comfort each other, so separating is a kind of sadness - the money doesn't really matter to either one.
    mcat5813on August 13, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationLoretta is a fantasy girl - she is not real. We all (well, I am assuming many of us) dream (some more often than others) of a perfect lover who is just our type. In the real world, nobody is the perfect lover and soul mate. So, this song is about a girl who is "always 22", "loves me like I want her to", and is head over heals crazy about me without any baggage (e.g., she don't cry when I can't stay). The song is melancholy and sad because, in the end, fantasies leave some emptiness (especially if a person has no "real" alternatives. That is, an imaginary, fantasy girl only offers brief comfort because she is not real. John Prine did a great cover of this song. And for all I know, John would think my interpretation is complete whack. But, that's what it means to me - an ode to an imaginary girl.
    jehosophaton August 25, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis song is really about me... my name is Loretta. I had an on-and-off relationship with Townes long ago, in the early to mid-1970s. I was a college student and worked part-time as a bartender. It was a very special time, long before he became very well known. He even helped me buy and learn to play my first guitar, which I still have. It blew me away when he played it for me the first time. (My friend Margie thinks I should tell everyone about this, so the real meanings in the song won't get lost! But I know people like to make their own interpretations of songs...)
    lorettaguitargirlon February 05, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLoretta, what does that line "She wears them sevens on her sleeve" refer to?
    I'm learning the song and want to be able to answer that question if asked. I know a lot of TVZ songs -- one of my all time favorite singer/songwriters. Glad i got to see him "live."
    -tom hall, takoma park, md.
    takomaparkon June 25, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation"Wears them 7's on her sleeve" refers to "Seagrams 7 " cloth insignia patches that bar waitresses used to wear on their shirt sleeves, in the sixties-seventies. Promotional stuff.
    Buck1940on January 10, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe first line should be "... MY barroom girl" not "... A barroom girl" as in some cover versions. Townes always uses "MY" implying a more intimate relationship than "A" which can seem demeaning and dismissive.

    Also sometimes Townes follows the line "I can have her anytime" with "she can have me anytime" which I prefer, it's a more reciprocal equal deal and takes away the element of macho boasting.

    Just a couple of details to help keep the sweet and loving intentions of the lyric on track. Thank you
    AidanTurneron April 30, 2015   Link

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