Lionel Richie confirms he wrote the second verse of Kenny Rogers' 'Lady' on the toilet
Hello? Is it Lionel Richie you're looking for? Well, you might wanna check the bathroom.
The Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and producer finally shared his side of the story about how he ended up penning an important part of his track "Lady," which was first performed by late country icon Kenny Rogers in 1980. Turns out, he was indeed sitting on the porcelain throne.
"It's very simple. I'm working with Kenny Rogers — this is back in the day — and so Kenny calls and says, 'I want you to write a song for me,'" Richie explained on Thursday's episode of The Drew Barrymore Show. "And, of course, I wrote 'Lady.'"
In addition to the soulful song, Richie said Rogers requested that he prepare a second track, so he also wrote "Goin' Back to Alabama," which would later appear on Rogers' 1981 album, Share Your Love. However, the pair got halfway through "Goin' Back to Alabama" and then Rogers quite literally changed his tune.
Christopher Polk/ACMA2012/Getty Images Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie
"He says, 'I don't want to sing that song. I think I want to do 'Lady' first,'" Richie recalled. "Now, what he didn't know was I only had written the first verse of 'Lady.'"
So Richie had to get inventive — and quickly. "I said, 'Excuse me for a minute. Let me, uh, go to the bathroom,'" he told host Drew Barrymore. Fast-forward a few minutes: "I'm sitting in the stall writing the second verse to 'Lady.'"
When Barrymore expressed her astonishment over Richie's ability to write a "hit juggernaut classic" in such a short time frame, he explained that anything is possible when working under extreme, uh, pressure.
"You will do some amazing things when you're scared to death," he said. "The idea of telling Mr. Rogers that I don't have the second verse was not going to happen in my lifetime."
Rogers, who died in 2020, previously joked that "Lionel doesn't write entire songs, he writes ideas" while visiting Today in 2014. "We were in the studio recording the song, and I said, 'Where's the second verse?' And they said, 'Lionel's in the toilet writing them right now,'" Rogers said, as Entertainment Tonight reported. "He can't write unless he has the pressure to write."
The singer teasingly added, "He went in there to kinda get away from everything and to focus."
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