♫ Lucille ♫

As we continue on our week-long tribute to the late Kenny Rogers, here’s some trivia I bet you didn’t know:

    In 1970, Rogers discovered Don Henley’s pre-Eagles band, Shiloh, and produced their self-titled debut record. “It’s not like he was in the mud somewhere and I walked up,” Rogers explained of how he “discovered” the band. “But I found his group and took them to L.A. and they lived with me for six months.”
    “I played tennis for 10 years, eight hours a day every day and developed a national ranking while I was on the road playing with Wimbledon champs,” Rogers told Rolling Stone.
    In 2003, Rogers formed Kenji Design Studio, an Atlanta-based interior design firm, with business partner Jim Weinberg. The company went on to score some major contracts, like its bid to design all of the graphics, common spaces, model units, and employee uniforms at the Trump Towers Atlanta.  For his part, Rogers admitted that his design skills were really self-taught: “I’ve done 20 houses of my own, so I come to this from a totally emotional standpoint,” Rogers told the Chicago Tribune in 2007.

I picked up my list tonight of the Kenny Rogers songs you guys had mentioned or requested, and next on the list was Lucille.  I thought … nah, I just played Ruby last night and I really didn’t know that I wanted to play another about a woman who was, shall we say less than what a woman should be.  But, the more I thought about it, the more I thought … “Yeah, the two kind of go hand-in-hand”, and Lucille wouldn’t leave my head, so … here we are.

This song, released in 1977, was written by Hal Bynum and Roger Bowling.  The song was inspired by real-life events, as Bynum’s own marriage was in trouble when he started writing this tune. He was struggling with the temptation of another woman’s amorous advances and as his wife was preparing herself for a trip away, Bynum said, “You picked a fine time to leave me.” 

Lucille was Kenny Rogers’ first major hit as a solo artist after leaving his band The First Edition the previous year. An international success, it was the first of 21 Country #1s for the singer.  Wow … 21 #1 hits???  That’s remarkable!  I didn’t know!

Kenny Rogers’ mother was named Lucille; when she heard the song, she called her son to admonish him because she thought it was about her. Kenny explained that he didn’t write the song, and no reasonable person would think that Mrs. Rogers would leave four hungry children to cheat on her husband. Lucille Rogers actually had eight children.

Kenny Rogers

In a bar in Toledo across from the depot
On a barstool, she took off her ring
I thought I’d get closer so I walked on over
I sat down and asked her name
When the drinks finally hit her she said “I’m no quitter
But I finally quit livin’ on dreams
I’m hungry for laughter and here ever after
I’m after whatever the other life brings”
In the mirror, I saw him and I closely watched him
I thought how he looked out of place
He came to the woman who sat there beside me
He had a strange look on his face
The big hands were calloused, he looked like a mountain
For a minute I thought I was dead
But he started shaking, his big heart was breaking
He turned to the woman and said

“You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
With four hungry children and a crop in the field
I’ve had some bad times, lived through some sad times
But this time your hurting won’t heal
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille”

After he left us, I ordered more whiskey
I thought how she’d made him look small
From the lights of the barroom
To a rented hotel room
We walked without talking at all
She was a beauty but when she came to me
She must have thought I’d lost my mind
I couldn’t hold her ’cause the words that he told her
Kept coming back time after time

“You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
With four hungry children and a crop in the field
I’ve had some bad times, lived through some sad times
But this time your hurting won’t heal
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille

You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
With four hungry children and a crop in the field
I’ve had some bad times, lived through some sad times
But this time your hurting won’t heal
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille”

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Richard Penniman / Albert Collins
Lucille lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Royalty Network, Songtrust Ave

26 thoughts on “♫ Lucille ♫

  1. This is shaping up to be what may well go down in the history of Filosofa’s Word as the best week in music! The only way that would change is if…well, I will not demean Kenny’s memorial. Unlike yesterday, I have no trivia to add to your history of this song. However, the comment below by “Bumba” is one of the cards that I have been holding in my hand to be played when the time was right. As the song says : “you got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away and know when to run.” So all is not lost and even though the time is not quite right I’ll toss my card on the table here and now. Kenny Rogers Roasters was an early 90’s business venture with a former CEO of Kentucky Fried Chicken, John Brown Jr., that started out doing well and ended in bankruptcy by the end of the 90’s. It was bought by Nathan’s Famous, the hot dog company, and many of the locations ended up being closed in the USA. The only remaining part of Kenny’s association was his name on the stores. It was in 1996 during a trip to New York City for a nursing seminar with a co-worker that I had the one and only dining experience at the establishment. We both purchased T-shirts with the logo on them and it was packed away with several concert T-shirts until Sunday. As the T-shirt was never worn, it is in mint condition so to speak and could possibly fetch me a nice sum of US dollars…I will never know, because it isn’t going anywhere as long as I draw breath! But, I digress. I believe that somewhere along the ensuing years Nathan’s also sold the chicken business, if so the details are unknown to me. And that is all I have to offer. Oh, I almost forgot to add something that eldest Daughter told me about upon seeing the T-shirt. She remembers watching a Seinfeld episode sometime in the mid 90’s that was about a Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant with a huge red chicken sign on top that was across the street from Seinfeld’s apartment building. The girls loved Seinfeld but as this was during my long hour working days, I never watched TV and knew nothing about the episode. Thank-you! P.S. Love the song!!

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    • Wow!!! Thanks, dear Ellen … I’m so glad you’re enjoying it! Here I went and Googled Kenny Rogers’ Chicken and all I needed to do was read ahead to your comment! I should have known you would know even more than Google did! Thanks for the additional fun trivia! If I hadn’t been too exhausted last night, I would have gotten to this and known all about it! Thanks, dear friend!


  2. Thanks for the song! And a bonus of the fun trivia! 🙂
    Interesting that this was inspired by a true story too! How many of his other songs were? Guess I will find out as your tribute week continues. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • It was a restaurant chain. We had a couple in LA about 20 years ago. And it was good. Personally I liked Lucille song, but not overwhelmed by his other stuff. But as I say, the chicken was terrific.

        Liked by 1 person

        • And now I’ve learned something new, for I had no idea! I went in search of and found that the last one closed its doors in December 2011. Nathan’s Famous and another chain purchased the right to sell the Kenny Rogers’ Roasters’ products. Interesting. Thanks!

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  3. My mom? Was a huge country fan. Elvis, Kenny, she really loved Hee Haw. I loved his duet with Dolly Parton. I actually got to meet her when I got off hiking on the Appalachian Trail and went to Dollywood.

    Though please do not tell anyone. I am a heavy metal maniac and it would ruin my reputation of being one lol. But? I love almost all kinds of music, even classical.

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    • You’ve hiked the AT??? Awesome! I have a friend who has thru-hiked both the AT and the PCT. I’ve hiked a bit of the AT, but a very small bit. I have, however, been to Dollywood, for I once lived in Kingsport, Tennessee, about a 4 hour drive from Pigeon Forge, where Dollywood is located. I cannot share your love of heavy metal, though … to me, it is just so much noise. However, I do love many other kinds of music, from Classical to Jazz to Motown (my absolute favourite) to soft rock.


  4. Oops – well my comment is mostly under Ruby! Sorry, forgive me!
    One more thing (at the risk of annoying you again) …
    I have fond memories of being in a pub called The Royal Greenjacket with my head resting on someone’s knee (I was young, a student – that’s my excuse) (he was gorgeous but it was not to be and it was very innocent, honest) with this playing in the background and all of us – quite a group – singing along. That’s where we started the four hundred children thing… Sorry, again (crawls away hanging her head in shame)

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