♫ Lucille ♫

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

  • KENNY ROGERS AND DON HENLEY USED TO BE ROOMMATES.
    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.”
  • KENNY ROGERS WAS A PRO-LEVEL TENNIS PLAYER.
    “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.
  • KENNY ROGERS DABBLED IN INTERIOR DESIGN.
    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.

Lucille
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

♫ Hotel California ♫

Recorded by The Eagles in 1973, this was the first single from the band’s second album Desperado.

Written by Don Felder, Glenn Frey and Don Henley, this song is about materialism and excess. California is used as the setting, but it could relate to anywhere in America. Don Henley in the London Daily Mail November 9, 2007 said: “Some of the wilder interpretations of that song have been amazing. It was really about the excesses of American culture and certain girls we knew. But it was also about the uneasy balance between art and commerce.”

Hotel California
Eagles

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night.

There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself
‘This could be heaven or this could be Hell’
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face.
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (any time of year) you can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain,
‘Please bring me my wine’
He said, ‘we haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty-nine’
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say”

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face.
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise), bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said, ‘we are all just prisoners here, of our own device’
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
‘Relax’ said the night man,
‘We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!’

Songwriters: Glenn Lewis Frey / Don Felder / Donald Hugh Henley
Hotel California lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Ride Like The Wind ♫

Released in 1980, this song was written and recorded by Christopher Cross.  It features backing vocals by Michael McDonald and a guitar solo by Cross. The Michael McDonald connection came courtesy of Cross’ producer Michael Omartian – they knew each other from working with Steely Dan. Don Henley also contributed to the vocals.

Christopher Cross was on acid when he wrote the lyrics …

“We were living in Houston at the time, and on the way down to Austin to record the songs, it was just a beautiful Texas day. I took acid. So I wrote the words on the way down from Houston to Austin on acid.”

The song tells the story of a condemned criminal on the run to Mexico. Told from a first-person point of view, it describes how an outlaw and convicted multiple murderer, on the run from a death-by-hanging sentence, has to “ride like the wind” to reach “the border of Mexico,” where, presumably, the posse apparently in pursuit of him will not be able to reach him.

In 1999, the satirical newspaper The Onion published the following story …

Christopher Cross Finally Reaches Mexican Border

2/10/99 3:00 pm
NOGALES, MEXICO—After nearly 20 years on the run, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Christopher Cross finally reached the Mexican border Monday. “I had such a long way to go,”said Cross, who fled south after gunning down 10 in 1980, “but I’ve finally made it to the border of Mexico.” Doctors, who described Cross’ body as “weak,” said much sleep would be necessary to restore the health of the fugitive adult-contemporary vocalist.

I chose this particular video for its … because I liked it!  This one was done in 1998, nearly two decades after the song was released, but it sounds every bit as good as it did in 1980, and I love the interaction between Cross and McDonald, love the visible energy.

Ride Like The Wind
Christopher Cross

It is the night
My body’s weak
I’m on the run
No time to sleep
I’ve got to ride
Ride like the wind
To be free again

And I’ve got such a long way to go (such a long way to go)
To make it to the border of Mexico
So I’ll ride like the wind
Ride like the wind

I was born the son of a lawless man
Always spoke my mind with a gun in my hand
Lived nine lives
Gunned down ten
Gonna ride like the wind

And I’ve got such a long way to go (such a long way to go)
To make it to the border of Mexico
So I’ll ride like the wind
Ride like the wind

Gonna ride like the wind

Accused and tried and told to hang
I was nowhere in sight when the church bells rang
Never was the kind to do as I was told
Gonna ride like the wind before I get old

It is the night
My body’s weak
I’m on the run
No time to sleep
I’ve got to ride
Ride like the wind
To be free again

And I’ve got such a long way to go (such a long way to go)
To make it to the border of Mexico
So I’ll ride like the wind
Ride like the wind

And I’ve got a long way to go (such a long way to go)
To make it to the border of Mexico
So I’ll ride like the wind
Ride like the wind
Gonna ride like the wind

Ride!

Gonna ride like the wind

Ride!

Songwriters: Christopher C. Cross
Ride Like The Wind lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Against The Wind ♫

I used to drive a little tiny 2-seater Subaru hatchback that I named “Little Silver Bullet” because at the time I drank Coors Light beer (yes, I name my cars … and my vacuum cleaners … what of it?).  When the company I worked for hired a sign painter to paint our logo on the new trucks, he offered to paint “Little Silver Bullet” on the back of my car, free of charge.  Of course I took him up on his offer, and thereafter I was known among CB enthusiasts and truckers as the Little Silver Bullet, or sometimes just Li’l Bullet for short.  Ahhh … the good ol’ days!  “10-4 good buddy — I got your six.”  Back in those days, the CB radio was to me what the internet is today!

This song by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band was released in 1980, the second single from the album of the same name.  Glenn Frey and Don Henley of the Eagles sang background vocals on this song.  Seger said of this song:

“My old friend Glenn Frey of the Eagles had an idea that our guitarist Drew Abbott should play along with the piano solo. He and I then went out and did the background vocals together. The line ‘Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then’ bothered me for the longest time, but everyone I knew loved it so I left it in. It has since appeared in several hits by other artists, so I guess it’s OK.  

The only thing that bothered me about that phrase was the grammar. It sounded grammatically funny to me. I kept asking myself, ‘Is that correct grammar?’ I liked the line, and everybody I played it for – like Glenn and Don (Henley) – were saying, ‘That’s the best line in the song,’ but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t right. But I slowly came around. You have to understand that songwriters can’t punctuate anything they write. I work in such a narrow medium that I tend to second-guess things like that. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen that line in a few other songs since I came up with it, so I guess it was okay after all.”

Against the Wind
Bob Seger

Seems like yesterday
But it was long ago
Janey was lovely she was the queen of my nights
There in darkness with the radio playin low
And the secrets that we shared, mountains that we moved
Caught like a wildfire out of control
Til there was nothin left to burn and nothin left to prove

And I remember what she said to me
How she swore that it never would end
I remember how she held me oh so tight
Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then

Against the wind
We were runnin against the wind
We were young and strong we were runnin against the wind

And the years rolled slowly past
And I found myself alone
Surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends
Found myself further and further from my home and I
Guess I lost my way
There were oh so many roads
I was livin to run and runnin to live
Never worried about payin or even how much I owe

Movin’ eight miles a minute and for months at a time
Breakin all of the rules that would bend
I began to find myself searchin
Searchin for shelter again and again

Against the wind
Little somethin against the wind
I found myself seekin shelter against the wind

Well those drifters days are past me now
I’ve got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out

Against the wind
I’m still runnin against the wind
I’m older now but still runnin against the wind

Well I’m older now but still runnin against the wind
Against the wind
Against the wind
Still runnin
Against the wind
Against the wind
Against the wind…

Songwriters: SEGER ROBERT CLARK
Against the Wind lyrics © Gear Publishing, Gear Publishing Company Inc, GEAR PUBLISHING CO., INC., HIDEOUT RECORDS/DISTRIBTRS INC (GEAR PUBLISHING DI, HIDEOUT RECORDS DIST. INC.

♫ Best Of My Love ♫

After last night’s music post in which I mentioned Richard Marx, I had his Right Here Waiting For You running through my head all day, so tonight I began, fully intending to use that one for this post.  I did the background research, found a good version of the song, and had the post nearly ready to go, when I thought I better just check and make sure I hadn’t already used that one.  Long story short, I played that one on November 14, 2018 … just three months ago!  Wouldn’t you think I could remember?  Sigh.  And so it happens that I had to start all over and tonight I bring you … The Eagles!

This song is often played at weddings and anywhere else one wants to demonstrate affection, but it’s really a breakup song: “You see it your way, and I see it mine, and we both see it slipping away.” No happy ending here, just a guy who gave it his best, but things didn’t work out.

According to Don Henley, he Souther and Frey wrote some of the lyrics over libations at the Los Angeles restaurant Dan Tana’s where they were regulars. There, they studied women and relationships. Henley says they were “typical, frustrated, young men” at the time.

J.D. Souther, however, remembers it differently, saying …

“Glenn found the tune; the tune I think came from a Fred Neil record… We were working on that album (On the Border) and came to London. The three of us were writing it and were on deadline to get it finished. I don’t know where we got the inspiration.”

‘Twould seem that I’m not the only one with a memory problem!

Best of My Love
Eagles

Every night
I’m lying in bed
Holdin’ you close in my dreams
Thinkin’ about all the things that we said
And comin’ apart at the seams
We try to talk it over
But the words come out too rough
I know you were tryin’
To give me the best of your love

Beautiful faces
Loud empty places
Look at the way that we live
Wastin’ our time
On cheap talk and wine
Left us so little to give

The same old crowd
Was like a cold dark cloud
That we could never rise above
But here in my heart
I give you the best of my love

Oh, sweet darlin’
You get the best of my love
(You get the best of my love)
Oh, sweet darlin’
You get the best of my love
(You get the best of my love)

I’m goin’ back in time
And it’s a sweet dream
It was a quiet night
And I would be alright
If I could go on sleeping

But every morning’
I wake up and worry
What’s gonna happen today
You see it your way
And I see it mine
But we both see it slippin’ away

You know, we always had each other, baby
I guess that wasn’t enough
Oh oh, but here in my heart
I give you the best of my love
Oh, sweet darlin’
You get the best of my love (the best of my love)
Oh, sweet darlin’
You get the best of my love (the best of my love)
Oh, sweet darlin’
Every night and day
You get the best of my love (the best of my love)
Oh, sweet darlin’ (oh oh)
You get the best of my love (the best of my love)
Oh, sweet darlin’
You get the best of my love
You get the best of my love (the best of my love)
Oh, sweet darlin’
You get the best of my love (the best of my love)
Oh, sweet darlin’

Songwriters: Glenn Frey / Don Henley / John Souther
Best of My Love lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Lyin’ Eyes ♫

Lyin’ Eyes is a song written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey and recorded in 1975 by the American rock band the Eagles, with Frey singing lead vocals.

According to the Eagles on their DVD Hell Freezes Over, when they were a struggling band in Los Angeles, they saw a lot of beautiful women around Hollywood who were married to wealthy, successful men, and wondered if they were unhappy. One night they were drinking in a bar (their favorite watering hole: Dan Tana’s) when they spotted this stunning young woman; two steps behind her was a much older, fat, rich guy. As they were half laughing at them, Glenn Frey commented, “Look at her, she can’t even hide those lyin eyes!”

Realizing they had a song title, the band members began grabbing for cocktail napkins to write down lyrics to go with that great observation.

In the History of the Eagles documentary, Don Henley offered a slightly different interpretation: “It was about all these girls that would come down to Dan Tana’s looking beautiful. They’d be there from 8 O’clock until midnight having drinks with all of us rockers, then they’d go home because they were kept women.”

A bit of interesting trivia:

In 2008, an Irish prosecutor quoted the words to this song (“You can’t hide those lyin’ eyes…”) in her closing statement at a trial involving the email lyingeyes98@yahoo.ie. The Dublin jury convicted Sharon Collins of conspiring to have her older partner and his two sons killed. Using the lyingeyes98 email, she contacted a hit man at hire_hitman@yahoo.com to do the deed, apparently unaware that emails can be traced.

And now, I will hush and let you enjoy the song …

Lyin’ Eyes
Eagles

City girls just seem to find out early
How to open doors with just a smile
A rich old man
And she won’t have to worry
She’ll dress up all in lace and go in style

Late at night a big old house gets lonely
I guess every form of refuge has its price
And it breaks her heart to think her love is only
Given to a man with hands as cold as ice

So she tells him she must go out for the evening
To comfort an old friend who’s feelin’ down
But he knows where she’s goin’ as she’s leavin’
She is headed for the cheatin’ side of town

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes

On the other side of town a boy is waiting
With fiery eyes and dreams no one could steal
She drives on through the night anticipating
‘Cause he makes her feel the way she used to feel

She rushes to his arms, they fall together
She whispers that it’s only for awhile
She swears that soon she’ll be comin’ back forever
She pulls away and leaves him with a smile

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t now way to hide your lyin’ eyes

She gets up and pours herself a strong one
And stares out at the stars up in the sky
Another night, it’s gonna be a long one
She draws the shade and hangs her head to cry

She wonders how it ever got this crazy
She thinks about a boy she knew in school
Did she get tired or did she just get lazy?
She’s so far gone she feels just like a fool

My oh my, you sure know how to arrange things
You set it up so well, so carefully
Ain’t it funny how your new life didn’t change things?
You’re still the same old girl you used to be

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes
Honey, you can’t hide your lyin’ eyes

Songwriters: Glenn Frey / Don Henley
Lyin’ Eyes lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Desperado ♫

You know how some songs get stuck in your head and just refuse to leave?  This one does that to me periodically.  This, and Girl From Ipanema.  And these days, of course, Fool on the Hill.

Don Henley began writing parts of this in the late ’60s, but it wasn’t arranged into a song until his songwriting teammate Glenn Frey came along. It was the first of many songs Henley and Frey wrote together.

Henley explained in the liner notes for The Very Best of the Eagles: “Glenn came over to write one day, and I showed him this unfinished tune that I had been holding for so many years. I said, ‘When I play it and sing it, I think of Ray Charles –  Ray Charles and Stephen Foster. It’s really a Southern gothic thing, but we can easily make it more Western.’ Glenn leapt right on it – filled in the blanks and brought structure. And that was the beginning of our songwriting partnership – that’s when we became a team.”

Desperado is a classic rock staple, but it was never released as a single.  The song has also been recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Kenny Rogers, the Carpenters, Bonnie Raitt, and Ringo Starr, but I prefer the Eagles version.

I love the lyrics to this … yes, there is a certain sadness to them … but … they are poignant and remind me of …

Desperado
Eagles

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
You been out ridin’ fences for so long now
Oh, you’re a hard one
But I know that you got your reasons
These things that are pleasin’ you
Can hurt you somehow

Don’t you draw the Queen of Diamonds, boy
She’ll beat you if she’s able
You know the Queen of Hearts is always your best bet

Now, it seems to me some fine things
Have been laid upon your table
But you only want the ones that you can’t get

Desperado, oh, you ain’t gettin’ no younger
Your pain and your hunger, they’re drivin’ you home

And freedom, oh freedom, well that’s just some people talkin’
Your prison is walking through this world all alone

Don’t your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won’t snow and the sun won’t shine
It’s hard to tell the night time from the day
You’re losin’ all your highs and lows
Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes away?

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate
It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you (let somebody love you)
You better let somebody love you
Before it’s too late

Songwriters: Glenn Lewis Frey / Don Hugh Henley
Desperado lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group