Music

Country Flashback: Kenny Rogers' Tearjerker, 'Lucille'

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This 1977 hit from Kenny Rogers has remained one of his most popular songs over the years. It became Rogers' first country music hit after leaving his rock band The First Edition the year before.

The story of the song started way back in 1958 when he was visiting his father in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A local TV station was broadcasting the story of a man whose life had left him and he was filled with heartbreak. "You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille, with four hungry children and a crop in the field. We had some good times and we had some bad times..."

The words stuck with Rogers and he decided that there was a song behind that pain. He recounted the story to songwriters Roger Bowling and Hal Bynum and together they finalized the lyrics of this tearjerker. The song was an international hit, number one on the American country charts as well as the top of the UK Singles Chart.

Read More: Kenny Rogers' 'The Gambler' Added to National Recording Registry

'Lucille' Lyrics:

In a bar in Toledo
Across from the depot
On a bar stool 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 living 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

His 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 you're 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 bar room
To a rented hotel room
We walked without talkin' 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
'Cuz 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 you're 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 you're hurting won't heal
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille

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Country Flashback: Kenny Rogers' Tearjerker, 'Lucille'