For a lot of people, Mel Tillis was the voice that brought major country hits. However, those who knew more about his life and career, he was also an expert songwriter.
A True Country Legend
He was not only a country singer, Mel Tillis also served the force behind the pen that crafted songs for a few big names. Just to mention a few of his artwork, Patsy Cline’s “Strange, for the king of country music, George Strait’s “thoughts of a Fool” and country outlaw, Waylon Jennings’ “Mental Revenge”.
Well, maybe one of the most well-known songs that Mel Tillis ever wrote was “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town”. The song was originally recorded by Johnny Darrell and released in 1967.
Focusing on a paralyzed veteran, the song has a sad feeling about it. In the song, the veteran painfully watches his wife gets dolled up to go out on the town without him. Having the fear that his wife was looking for a new lover, he pleads for her not to go. However, she didn’t listen.
A Bigger Hit For Kenny Rogers
Darrell managed to land on the ninth spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart. Regardless, his name was not the one that most people associate with the song. The reason was two years after Darrell released his version, another artist got a bigger hit with the song.
That artist was none other than Kenny Rogers. He was still recording with the First Edition at the point in his career. With that said, his version of “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” took on more of a country-pop sound.
Unfortunately, the song didn’t perform as well on the country charts as Darrell’s version did. It stalled at the 39th spot on the Hot Country Singles chart. On the good side, the song experienced success on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at the sixth spot.
While many others have recorded “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” over the years, including George Jones and Jerry Reed. Nonetheless, Kenny Rogers’ name is the one that most often comes up.
We know that you’re used to hearing Rogers’ version of the song, but what would be your reactions if you listened to it from the man who wrote it?