The legendary country music singer, Kenny Rogers, died on March 20 at the age of 81. Musicians have shared their love and memories of Rogers, including his famous duet partner, Dolly Parton, and Lionel Richie. Richie and Rogers were friends for decades, and together they created one of Rogers’ most famous and beloved songs, “Lady.”
Richie posted the following message on Twitter:
His tweet reads, “Today I lost one of my closest friends. So much laughter so many adventures to remember, my heart is broken… My prayers go out to Kenny’s Family.”
Rogers Recounts the Making of ‘Lady’ & Performs it With Richie
Rogers and Richie performed “Lady” together multiple times in front of live audiences. Here is a video of the two singing it during the Lionel Richie and Friends concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 2, 2012.
In the video, Rogers told the story about Richie writing “Lady.”
During a concert in 2012, Rogers said, “Lionel and I met 32 years ago right here in Las Vegas.” He said that if anyone in the audience was an aspiring songwriter and wanted to understand how to pitch a song, Richie was “your guy.”
Rogers continued, “I called him and I said ‘Lionel, I would love for you to come over and write a song for me.’ And he said ‘I don’t think I have time.'” Rogers told Richie on the phone that it was going to be part of a greatest hits album, and he figured it would sell at least four to five million copies. After hearing that, Richie met with Rogers the next day.
Before Richie showed Rogers what he had for a song, Richie told him that he already pitched the song to the band The Commodores and they turned it down. Rogers said, “I thought this was an interesting approach to selling a song.”
Rogers then recounts when Richie sat down and sampled the start of “Lady,” which is the only word he had written. Rogers went ahead with it, and six months later they were recording it in the studios. But Richie hadn’t finished the second verse of the song.
So Rogers revealed Richie went into the bathroom and wrote the second verse on the toilet. Rogers said that Richie was at “his best under pressure.”
Rogers said that Richie’s not just a great friend of his, but he helped create one of his most transcendent songs and that it was a “changing point” in Rogers’ career.