“Lady” by Kenny Rogers
The lyrical content of Kenny Rogers’ “Lady” has been described with such colorful adjectives as “over-the-top” and “sweet and cheesy”. It sprang from an era in American pop music where dudes really, really, really wanted to let their significant others know just how important a role they played in their lives. As such, the primary task at hand consisted of coming up with the most-effective wording to relay such feelings.
And we see from the onset that yes, Kenny does start off with a metaphor (“I’m your knight in shining armor”) pointing to such. But then in the next line he gets about as specific as possible by just flat-out exclaiming “I love you” to the addressee. Then shortly thereafter, he lets it be known that “there’s so many ways I want to say I love you”. And that’s pretty much the gist of this tune, i.e. the artist letting this lady know that he does in fact love her, using a variety of touching phrases.
And for the record, this song was partially inspired by the fact that Kenny had, in 1977, married an actress by the name of Marianne Gordon. And when mentioning her to Lionel Richie, he described her as “a real lady”.
Facts about “Lady”
“Lady” was actually written and produced by Lionel Richie, whom many would recognize as one of the premiere R&B singers from the late 20th century. In fact this song is credited with jumpstarting Richie’s solo career. And why? Because it proved that he was in fact a capable musician outside of the Commodores, the group whom he built his reputation with. In fact it has been said that out of all the mega-hits which Lionel was a part of, this one proved to be the most-profitable to him personally.
According to the legend behind the origin of this tune Kenny did have some input in terms of its creation. For example, he helped Richie come up with the title. However reports vary concerning whether Rogers reached out to Richie in terms of writing this song or vice versa.
What is definitely known though is that the two artists met in Las Vegas in order to hash the song out. The specific goal was to create a type of track which would appeal to both Black and White audiences. And considering the chart history of “Lady”, they definitely accomplished that feat.
Indeed readers may recognize this classic as one of Kenny’s quintessential hits. It managed to top four-different Billboard charts, including the Hot 100.
Additionally the song broke the top 20 of the UK Singles Chart and charted in almost a dozen countries outside of America.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Hot 100, Billboard put together a list of “the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs”. “Lady” made it onto the top 50 of that ranking.
When did Kenny Rogers release “Lady”?
This classic actually came out on 29 September 1980 as part of Kenny Rogers’ sophomore compilation album, “Greatest Hits”. Indeed in the UK, the album itself was entitled “Lady”. And the label that put it out is Liberty Records.
Later, in 1998, Lionel would go on to drop his own version of “Lady”. And in 2012, he and Kenny Rogers dropped a joint rendition.