♫ (Something Inside) So Strong ♫

Almost every song I play here is one I am familiar with … an old favourite.  But every now and then I am introduced to a new song, one that I never heard, but upon listening for the first time, it strikes at something inside, so to speak.  In a conversation last night, David mentioned this song and the title did not ring a bell, so I went in search of.  And found.  And liked.

This song was a hit in the United Kingdom, coming in at #4 upon its release in 1987, and hit #3 in the Netherlands.  However, it did not chart in the U.S., and in fact I don’t know that it was ever played in the U.S.  Too bad, for it is a most deserving piece of music.

The songwriter and singer is Labi Siffre, a a British singer, songwriter, musician and poet.  According to SongFacts …

Siffre was profoundly affected by a television documentary from South Africa showing a white soldier shooting at black children. He came out of self-imposed retirement from music in 1985 to write this protest song against apartheid as a response. Siffre originally intended to give the song to another artist to sing, but was convinced to release it himself. It became one the biggest successes of Siffre’s career, peaking at #4 in the United Kingdom.

Siffre told the BBC’s Soul Music programme in 2014 that the song was also influenced by his experience as a homosexual child, adolescent, and adult.  The song has remained enduringly popular and is an example of the political and sociological thread running through much of Siffre’s lyrics and poetry. It won the Ivor Novello Award for “Best Song Musically and Lyrically”, and has been used in Amnesty International campaigns.  I was surprised to learn that Kenny Rogers covered this song in 1989 … I had not heard his version either, and while I am a fan of Rogers’ voice, his songs, this song, in my opinion, belongs to Labi Siffre.

(Something Inside) So Strong
Labi Siffre

The higher you build your barriers
The taller I become
The further you take my rights away
The faster I will run
You can deny me, you can decide
To turn your face away
No matter ’cause there’s

Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There’s something inside so strong
Oh, something inside so strong

The more you refuse to hear my voice (ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh)
The louder I will sing
You hide behind walls of Jericho (ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh)
Your lies will come tumbling
Deny my place in time, you squander wealth that’s mine
My light will shine so brightly it will blind you
Because there’s

Something inside so strong, strong
I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There’s something inside so strong
Oh, something inside so strong

Brothers and sisters
When they insist we’re just not good enough
Well we know better
Just look him in his eyes and say
We’re gonna do it anyway
We’re gonna do it anyway

There’s something inside so strong
And I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There’s something inside so strong, oh
Something inside so strong

Brothers and sisters
When they insist we’re just not good enough
Well we know better
Just look him in his eyes and say
We’re gonna do it anyway
We’re gonna do it anyway
We’re gonna do it anyway
We’re gonna do it anyway
Because there’s

Something inside so strong, (something inside so strong)
I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no, oh no
There’s something inside so strong
Something inside so strong (oh oh yeah)
I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no, oh no
There’s something inside so strong

Oh oh, something inside so strong
Oh oh, something inside so strong
Oh oh, something inside so strong

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Labi Siffre
(Something Inside) So Strong lyrics © BMG Rights Management

♫ Every Time Two Fools Collide ♫

Back in March, after Kenny Rogers’ death, I did a tribute to him, playing some of my favourites from among his vast repertoire.  This one didn’t make the cut, however, and it is one that I always enjoy, especially this live version with Kenny and Dottie West.  

So, how did this song come about?  Well, it depends on who you ask, as it happens.  According to Wikipedia …

“Every Time Two Fools Collide” was meant to be recorded only by Dottie West, as a follow-up to her previous hits from 1977 under her new record company United Artists. Kenny Rogers was under the same label as West at the time, and they were both being produced under Larry Butler. According to legend, West was recording the song in the United Artists studio, when Rogers turned up early to meet West. However, Rogers disputed this. According to him, West was supposed to have finished recording material at 10:00 am, and Rogers was to have started at the same time. When West’s session ran over, Rogers ended up sitting in the studio waiting. They began talking about recording a duet, and West suggested “Every Time Two Fools Collide”. They both agreed, and together West and Rogers made the song a duet recording. Producer Larry Butler told another version of the event in a 2006 interview. He claims that after Rogers had turned up to the studio, West approached Rogers, saying she was a fan of his music and that she would consider it an honor to record with him someday. Butler then claimed that Rogers asked if he had any material he felt they could do together and told Rogers to sing the second verse of “Every Time Two Fools Collide”.

Released in early 1978, the song hit number one on the Hot Country Songs list that year, for two weeks, and was West’s first number one and one of Rogers’ many number ones. The song became one of the pair’s best-known songs, and also became one of country music’s classic duet recordings. That year, they released an album of the same name, which became a Gold-certified album. Their association lasted three years, setting the trend for a string of country hits, including 1981’s “What Are We Doin’ in Love”. Thanks in part to the success of this song, Rogers and West won the CMA Awards’ coveted Vocal Duo of the Year award later that year.

In 2004, CMT hosted a duets special titled, 100 Greatest Duets. “Every Time Two Fools Collide” was listed among their top-10 list, and was also performed on their special. However, country singer Lee Ann Womack took the place of West’s part in the song, as West died in an automobile accident in September 1991. Although they had not recorded together for some time prior to her death, Rogers and West maintained a close friendship. In his autobiography, Rogers recalls the last time he saw West was at the hospital after her fatal accident, stating that while she was believed to be unconscious, he nevertheless carried out a (one-sided) conversation with her hoping she could hear him.

Every Time Two Fools Collide
Kenny Rogers


You want things your way
And I want them mine
And now we don’t know
Just where you draw the line
How can love survive
If we keep cheers and sights?
And who picks up the pieces
Every time two fools collide?


You lay the blame on me
And I put the balme on you
But why do we keep finding faults
In everything we do?
And how long can we keep righting wrongs
So cut-and-dry
And who picks up the pieces
Every time two fools collide?


We can save our love
We still have the time
Oh, I know there must be a way
But we still haven’t tried
To keep our hearts from breaking
Every time two fools collide


To keep our hearts from breaking
Every time two fools collide


Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Jan Dyer / Jeff Tweel
Every Time Two Fools Collide lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ We Are The World ♫ (Redux)

Concentrating on my ‘good people’ post this evening, I hadn’t even given a thought to my music post.  But, after finishing the ‘good people’, and turning to comments from yesterday’s posts, I came across one from friend John Howell that led me to this song.  I’ve posted it before, and will do so again, for it carries a message that we need to be reminded of over and over.  John provided a tidbit that I wasn’t aware of …

“I loved the Michael Jackson comment to all the stars that were in studio for the “We are the World” recording session. He said that egos were to be left at the door and that anyone who had a problem with that would be driven home…by Stevie Wonder.”

I don’t imagine too many egos were on display after that!!!

This song … it is what we need today … and every day.  Please listen and enjoy.


Hello my friends.  With a heavy heart tonight, I was not going to do a music post, but two special people convinced me, without realizing that they had a thing to do with it, to do one … and this one in particular.  I shall explain …

A few nights ago, I was chatting via email with our friend Ellen, and she noted that while sometimes one doesn’t feel that they have a song in their heart, they should … sing anyway!  Tonight, I felt as if I had no song in my heart, and really, I just wanted to go to bed.  But, somewhere in my head, I heard Ellen saying, “C’mon, Filosofa … sing anyway!”

And the second motivator was another dear friend, Dutch (Larry Woller) who posted on his own blog this song … We Are The World … and everything just suddenly clicked into place.

This was a benefit single for victims of famine in Africa. It raised over $60 Million, which was distributed to Ethiopia, Sudan, and other impoverished countries.

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote this song, and Quincy Jones produced it. This talented trio was perfect for the job: Quincy Jones was the hottest producer around, and his Rolodex (what would now be a contact list) was filled with the biggest names in music; Richie had written songs that went to #1 on the Hot 100 each of the previous seven years (“We Are The World” made it eight); Michael Jackson had the biggest album of 1984 with Thriller (produced by Jones) and was the biggest star in the world.

The USA For Africa project began as an idea calypso singer Harry Belafonte had for a benefit concert featuring black musicians. In late December 1984, looking for artists to participate, Belafonte called Ken Kragen, who managed an impressive roster of talent, including Lionel Richie. Kragen convinced Belafonte that they could raise more money and make a bigger impact with an original song; Belafonte agreed and Richie came on board to help.

Kragen asked Quincy Jones to produce, and Jones enlisted Michael Jackson. Richie got Stevie Wonder involved, and from there, word got out and many members of the music industry signed on to help. The project from conception to recording took about a month.

This all-star charity single was inspired by Band Aid, the British group Bob Geldof put together the year before to record Do They Know It’s Christmas?. Band Aid, which included Bono, Phil Collins, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and Sting, served as a template, showing how a disparate group of famous artists could come together in one day to record a song.

The stars who sang solos were, in order, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Michael Jackson (again), Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, and Kim Carnes. Bob Dylan and Ray Charles were also featured on the song and given close-ups in the video.

Harry Belafonte, who had the original idea for the project, was in the chorus but didn’t get a solo, joining Bette Midler, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, LaToya Jackson, Bob Geldof, Sheila E., and Waylon Jennings as backing singers.

Quincy Jones was responsible for managing the egos of all the stars. It went very smoothly considering some very famous people did not get to sing a line. Most of the singers knew Jones personally and respected his wishes that they check their egos at the door.

Just goes to show what we can accomplish when people of all sorts come together for a common cause.  I think … though the cause is different … this song has just as much meaning for our world today as it did when it was released in 1985, some 34 years ago, don’t you?

We Are the World
U.S.A. for Africa

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretending day-by-day
That someone, somewhere soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, send them your heart
So they know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
And so we all must lend a helping hand

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
Oh, there’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize
Oh, that a change can only come
When we stand together as one, yeah, yeah, yeah

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day, so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, let me hear you!

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (said we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, come on now, let me hear you

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, yeah

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
And we’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world, we are the world (are the world)
We are the children, yes sir (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, ooh-hoo!

We are the world (dear God) (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (all right, can you hear what I’m saying?)
There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives

Songwriters: Michael Jackson / Lionel Richie
We Are the World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Kenny Rogers — Final Tribute ♫

Well, folks, it’s been a week of memories, hasn’t it?  I’m sad to see it end, and I realize I didn’t get to all the requests from everybody, but I have made note of them and … Kenny’s legacy, his music, remains with us to be played over and over, whenever we want.  I debated what to do for this final post.  Lady was requested by a couple of people, but since I had already played it twice, last May and in October 2018, I held off on that one.  For tonight’s grand finale, if you will, I selected a few songs and tributes from other artists.  Rather than take up space with trivia & lyrics, I shall let the videos speak for themselves.  First, of course, it had to be Dolly’s own tribute …

What would any tribute to Kenny be without his iconic The Gambler

Even morning talk/news show Good Morning America had to say ‘goodbye’ to Kenny in style …

And, as our friend Ellen suggested, there might be no better tribute than this song by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, You Can’t Make Old Friends …

I finish with a recording that Kenny, along with so many other wonderful artists, such as Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Michael Jackson, James Ingram, and too many to even name, participated in to raise money for humanitarian aid.  The first recording session on January 21st, 1985 brought together some of the most well-known artists in the music industry at the time.

This one never fails to bring a lump to my throat and a tear to my eyes.  What a perfect way, I think, to close this tribute to a great artist …

I hope you’ve all enjoyed this week-long tribute to the late Kenny Rogers … I have certainly enjoyed doing it!  R.I,P. Kenny,  and thank you for all you have given us.

♫ Just The Way You Are ♫

Last night I was tired, and forgot to include any Kenny Rogers’ trivia in my post.  As we’re nearing the end of this tribute week, there are a few more things I wanted to include.  Kenny did duets with a number of other artists, but the ones he is most remembered for are the ones he did with Dolly Parton.  So, how did the two meet and connect?kenny-dolly-2The two first crossed paths in Nashville in the early days of their careers, and he helped her when she headlined a syndicated TV show in the 1970s.

“Kenny was a big star, and I couldn’t get any people on my show. Kenny said ‘I’ll do it,’ and I’ll never forget it. He’s always been there for me as a friend.”

Nearly a decade later, Rogers was in the recording studio with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, who had just co-written Islands in the Stream and decided to give it to Rogers. After a few days trying to record, Rogers didn’t like how it sounded and was ready to give up. According to Rogers, Gibb said, “You know what we need? We need Dolly Parton.”  By coincidence, Parton happened to be the same studio that day. Rogers’ manager went to go find her.  Recalls Kenny …

“She came marching into the room, and once she came in and started singing, the song was never the same. It took on a personality of its own.” 

Of all their duets, Islands in the Stream is my very favourite, but I find that I have already played it three times here, so … I’ll wait a while before playing it again.


Last night I played We’ve Got Tonight that Kenny sang with Sheena Easton, and I mentioned that while I loved Kenny Rogers, I preferred the Bob Seger version of that particular song.  Well, guess what?  Tonight’s song … same thing!  While I love Kenny Rogers in all things, for this particular one, I prefer Billy Joel’s version.  But, as I said last night, this is a week-long tribute to the late, great Kenny Rogers, not the alive-and-whole Billy Joel.

I actually just discovered that I played the Billy Joel and Barry White versions of this, as well as one where Joel visits Sesame Street with Marlee Matlin back in January, but as I had a special request for the version by Kenny Rogers and Dottie West, that is tonight’s fare!

Just The Way You Are
Kenny Rogers/Dottie West

Don’t go changing to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don’t imagine you’re too familiar
And I don’t see you anymore

I wouldn’t leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times; I’ll take the bad times
I’ll take you just the way you are

Don’t go trying some new fashion
Don’t change the color of your hair
You always have my unspoken passion
Although I might not seem to care

I don’t want clever conversation
I never want to work that hard
I just want someone that I can talk to
I want you just the way you are

I need to know that you will always be
The same old someone that I knew
What will it take till you believe in me
The way that I believe in you?

I said I love you and that’s forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are

Songwriters: Billy Joel
Just The Way You Are lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., BMG Rights Management

♫ We’ve Got Tonight ♫

This is next on the list of requests for Kenny Rogers’ tribute week, and as I listened to it, I noticed that something about it bothered me.  I listened again, checked out a couple of other versions, but something still didn’t sound quite right.  And then, I figured it out.  Now, you all know I love Kenny Rogers, he is in my top ten favourites (Stevie Wonder is in the #1 slot), but for this song, I prefer the original done by Bob Seger.  However … this is a week-long tribute to the late Kenny Rogers, not the still-living Seger, so …

Seger wrote this and first recorded it on his 1978 album Stranger in Town. Seger wrote the song after seeing the movie The Sting, starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman. In the film, there’s scene where Redford puts the moves on a waitress, who says, “I don’t even know you.” He replies: “You know me. I’m the same as you. It’s two in the morning and I don’t know nobody.”  According to Seger …

“That just hit me real hard. The next day I wrote ‘We’ve Got Tonight,’ this song about two people who say ‘I’m tired. It’s late at night. I know you don’t really dig me, and I don’t really dig you, but this is all we’ve got, so let’s do it.’ The sexual revolution was still going strong then.”

In 1983, Kenny Rogers recorded the song as a duet with Scottish pop star Sheena Easton, and made it the title track of his album We’ve Got Tonight.  Said Rogers …

“I liked the idea of recording with Sheena: I thought the contrast in styles – I’m so throaty and she’s so trained and pure – would really work well.”

Easton’s contribution to the track would prove a bone of critical contention: whereas Rolling Stone critic Christopher Connelly would dismiss the Easton/Rogers duet of We’ve Got Tonight as “shrieking [and] insensitive”, and Jerseyite critic Jim Bohen would lament how Rogers “who usually sounds good duetting with women” was defeated by “Easton’s nails-across-the-blackboard voice”, Dennis Hunt (Los Angeles Times) would prefer the Rogers/Easton take to the Seger original due to a “very appealing blend of sharply contrasting voices, his deep and hers very high” adding that “Rogers, never known for his vocal power, stretches to match Easton, [attaining] his finest vocal performance”, and AllMusic critic Joe Viglione would opine that Easton’s “splendid voice reaching the high registers over Kenny’s familiar monotone…really makes [the track] special.”

We’ve Got Tonight
Kenny Rogers, Sheena Easton

I know it’s late, I know you’re weary
I know your plans don’t include me
Still here we are, both of us lonely
Longing for shelter from all that we see
Why should we worry, no one will care girl
Look at the stars so far away
We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?
We’ve got tonight babe
Why don’t you stay?

Deep in my soul I’ve been so lonely
All of my hopes fading away
I’ve longed for love like everyone else does
I know I’ll keep searching even after today
So there it is girl, I’ve said it all now
And here we are babe, what do you say?
We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?
We’ve got tonight babe
Why don’t you stay?

I know it’s late, I know you’re weary
I know your plans don’t include me
Still here we are, both of us lonely
Both of us lonely

We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?
Let’s make it last, let’s find a way
Turn out the light, come take my hand now
We’ve got tonight babe
Why don’t you stay?
Why don’t you stay?

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bob Seger
We’ve Got Tonight lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ 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

♫ Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town ♫

As part of this week-long tribute to Kenny Rogers, one of my all-time favourites, each night I plan to include a bit of trivia.  In 2017, Kenny Rogers did an interview with Southern Living magazine.  One of the questions he was asked was to recount his favourite memory of Dolly Parton, his long-time friend and singing partner.  Kenny said his favorite moment was in 2013 while they were recording their final duet together called You Can’t Make Old Friends. At one point, he looked up and saw Parton was no longer at her microphone. Suddenly, she appeared by his side, and put her arms around his neck. “Kenny, I think you should know, I could never sing at your funeral.”

Rogers laughed at the memory. “I went, ‘So we’re assuming I’m going first?’ ” He chuckled again. “But I love her for that. You never know what she’s going to say, but it always comes from love.”Kenny-DollyWhen I first mentioned that I was considering Ellen’s idea for a week-long tribute to the late Kenny Rogers, you guys started giving me ideas, letting me know your favourites, and I jotted them all down.  The #1 favourite, with four requests, is this one … Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town.

I had no idea that Mel Tillis had written this song!  The song tells the story of a wounded soldier who has returned home to a woman who shows him little sympathy, leaving him to go out at night and enjoy the company of other men. All he can do is beg her to stay home and keep him company, but his pleas fall on deaf ears.

Tillis based the song on a real-life couple who lived near his family in Florida. In real life, the man was wounded in Germany in World War II and sent to recuperate in England. There, he married a nurse who took care of him at the hospital. The two of them moved to Florida shortly afterward, but he made periodic return trips to the hospital as problems with his wounds kept flaring up. His wife saw another man as the veteran lay in the hospital.  The real couple’s story had a tragic ending:  the man killed her in a murder-suicide.

I also didn’t know that Tillis was the first to release this song, including it on his 1967 album Life’s That Way. Waylon Jennings, Johnny Darrell, The Statler Brothers and Bobby Goldsboro all recorded the song later that year, with Darrell’s version going to #9 on the Country chart. Kenny Rogers recorded the definitive version with his band The First Edition in 1969, taking it to #2 in the UK and to #6 in the U.S.

A lot of controversy surrounded this song when it became a hit for Kenny Rogers in 1969, as the Vietnam War was raging and the song was often assumed to be about a man who came home crippled from that war. Rogers would perform the song in a jovial manner, and the crowd would often clap and sing along, so to some it was seen as disrespectful to veterans. In a 1970 interview with Beat Instrumental, Rogers defended the song, saying:

“Look, we don’t see ourselves as politicians, even if a lot of pop groups think they are in the running for a Presidential nomination. We are there, primarily, to entertain. Now if we can entertain by providing thought-provoking songs, then that’s all to the good. But the guys who said ‘Ruby’ was about Vietnam were way off target – it was about Korea. But whatever the message, and however you interpret it, fact is that we wouldn’t have looked at it if it hadn’t been a GOOD song. Just wanna make good records, that’s all.”

I’ve included two versions here.  The first is Kenny with The First Edition back in 1972, and the second is Kenny sans The First Edition, some thirty years later.  They are both good, I think my preference is the second, however.

Ruby
Kenny Rodgers

You’ve painted up your lips and rolled and curled your tinted hair
Ruby are you contemplating going out somewhere?
The shadows on the wall tell me the sun is going down
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town

It wasn’t me that started that old crazy Asian war
But I was proud to go and do my patriotic chore
And yes, it’s true that I’m not the man I used to be
Oh Ruby, I still need some company

It’s hard to love a man whose legs are bent and paralyzed
And the wants and needs of a woman your age really I realize
But it won’t be long, I’ve heard them say, until I’m not around
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town

She’s leaving now cause I just heard the slamming of the door
The way I know I heard its slams one hundred times before
And if I could move I’d get my gun and put her in the ground
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town

Oh Ruby, for God’s sake, turn around

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Mel Tillis
Ruby lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ What About Me? ♫

I was still debating, not quite sure if I was ready to do another week-long tribute or not.  It had been suggested by a couple of people, requests had rolled in, and before I fully finished pondering, our friend Ellen commented last night that she was looking forward to the week-long tribute.  So, I guess I have decided to do it!  I was all for it anyway, but I think I have a couple of readers who are not Kenny Rogers’ fans, but … you’ll just have to live with it, guys!  It’s only a week, eh?

This song was written by KennyRogers, noted producer David Foster, and singer-songwriter Richard Marx, who would later achieve superstar status as a musician with Right Here Waiting, and Now and Forever. It was the lead single from Rogers’s Platinum-plus 1984 album of the same name.

Rogers has described What About Me? as “like a three-way love song…Everybody involved said ‘Hey, what about me?’ I think it’s a beautiful record.” Originally the male and female parts not sung by Rogers were to be performed by Lionel Richie and Barbra Streisand, but after Richie backed out of the project, Streisand did as well. The second proposed trio of singers was Rogers, Olivia Newton-John, and Jeffrey Osborne, but Newton-John began working on a duet with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees and decided not to do both projects simultaneously. Osborne had a conflicting schedule as well, so the line-up of Rogers, Kim Carnes, and James Ingram was ultimately the one that recorded the song.

What About Me?
Kenny Rogers, Kim Carnes, James Ingram

I see you here with me
I’ve waited all my life
For someone like you
Someone to give my heart and soul to

I look into your eyes
Your love for me
Was such a welcome surprise
I think at last I’ve found forever

Oh, what about me?
(I’ll always love you)
Oh, what about me?
(I’ll always need you)
You were my love before
But I need so much more of you

Time after time, I feel I’m losing my mind
Or maybe this is what lovers must go through
It never entered my mind, we could be wasting our time
What am I gonna do?
What about me? Oh, what about me?

No reason to pretend, true love affairs
Don’t have to come to an end
The moment we don’t
Have all the answers

I nearly go insane
(Oh, I go insane)
Each and every time
I hear you whisper my name
(I feel the same)
When I’m around you

But what about me?
(I’ll always love you)
Oh, what about me?
(I’ll always need you)
This is so hard for me
I wanted so much to be with you

Time after time, I feel I’m losing my mind
Or maybe this is what lovers must go through
It never entered my mind, we could be wasting our time
What am I gonna do?

Time after time, I’m losing my mind
It never entered my mind
We could be wasting our time
But what abut me

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: David Foster / Kenny Rogers / Richard Marks
What About Me lyrics © Chrysalis Music, Peermusic Iii Ltd, Chrysalis Music (digital Only), Peermusic Iii Ltd (df Account), Lionsmate Music, Co.

♫ Through The Years ♫

I had another song already scheduled for this morning.  I was finishing up responding to comments, was on the last one, in fact, and planning to head upstairs to bed at just after 3:00 a.m., when a ‘Breaking News’ banner flashed on my screen:  “Country Music Legend Kenny Rogers Dies at 81”Noooooooooooooooooooo.  cryingI am not a country music fan, but for the most part, I didn’t think of Kenny’s music as hardcore country.  I loved his voice, loved his music, and he wasn’t too hard on the eyes either. 😉 So, tonight I shed a tear and play one two of my favourite Kenny Roger’s songs, Through the Years and Islands in the Stream.

Released in 1981, this song was written by Steve Dorff and Marty Panzer.  The song was produced by Lionel Richie, and it was Richie who decided Through The Years was a good fit for Rogers.  According to co-writer Steve Dorff …

“Kenny was actually the third or fourth person that was approached with that song. Barry Manilow and Mac Davis passed on it. Glen Campbell passed on it. Those were the notable ones. Lionel Richie had heard the song and loved it and played it for his people and that’s how it happened. I got a phone call from Gene Page, that great arranger, who called me and said, ‘Congratulations! We just cut your song with Kenny Rogers, and it sounds amazing.'”

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Through the Years
Kenny Rogers

I can’t remember when you weren’t there
When I didn’t care for anyone but you
I swear we’ve been through everything there is
Can’t imagine anything we’ve missed
Can’t imagine anything the two of us can’t do

Through the years
You’ve never let me down
You turned my life around
The sweetest days I’ve found
I’ve found with you
Through the years
I’ve never been afraid
I’ve loved the life we’ve made
And I’m so glad I’ve stayed
Right here with you
Through the years

I can’t remember what I used to do
Who I trusted whom, I listened to before
I swear you’ve taught me everything I know
Can’t imagine needing someone so
But through the years it seems to me
I need you more and more

Through the years
Through all the good and bad
I knew how much we had
I’ve always been so glad
To be with you
Through the years
It’s better everyday
You’ve kissed my tears away
As long as it’s okay
I’ll stay with you
Through the years

Through the years
When everything went wrong
Together we were strong
I know that I belonged
Right here with you
Through the years
I never had a doubt
We’d always work things out
I’ve learned what love’s about
By loving you
Through the years

Through the years
You’ve never let me down
You’ve turned my life around
The sweetest days I’ve found
I’ve found with you
Through the years
It’s better everyday
You’ve kissed my tears away
As long as it’s okay
I’ll stay with you
Through the years

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Martin Panzer / Stephen Hartley Dorff
Through the Years lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group


Islands in the Stream
Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers

Baby, when I met you there was peace unknown
I set out to get you with a fine tooth comb
I was soft inside
There was something going on

You do something to me that I can’t explain
Hold me closer and I feel no pain
Every beat of my heart
We got something going on

Tender love is blind
It requires a dedication
All this love we feel needs no conversation
We ride it together, ah ha
Making love with each other, ah ha

Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between
How can we be wrong
Sail away with me
To another world
And we rely on each other, ah ha
From one lover to another, ah ha

I can’t live without you if the love was gone
Everything is nothing if you got no one
And you did walk in the night
Slowly losing sight of the real thing

But that won’t happen to us and we got no doubt
Too deep in love and we got no way out
And the message is clear
This could be the year for the real thing

No more will you cry
Baby, I will hurt you never
We start and end as one
In love forever
We can ride it together, ah ha
Making love with each other, ah ha

Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between
How can we be wrong
Sail away with me
To another world
And we rely on each other, ah ha
From one lover to another, ah ha

Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between
How can we be wrong
Sail away with me
To another world
And we rely on each other, ah ha
From one lover to another, ah ha

Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between
How can we be wrong
Sail away with me
To another world
And we rely on each other, ah ha
From one lover to another, ah ha

Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Maurice Ernest Gibb / Robin Hugh Gibb / Barry Alan Gibb
Islands in the Stream lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group