Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Johnny Darrel

Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town

First recorded by Johnny Darrell (C&W #9/UK #2 1967).
Also recorded by The Statler Brothers (1967).
Hit version by Kenny Rogers & The First Edition (US #6/C&W #39/UK #1 1969).
See also: “Billy, I’ve Got to Go to Town” by Geraldine Stevens (1969).

From the wiki: “‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town’ is a song written by Mel Tillis about a paralyzed veteran of a ‘crazy Asian war’ (given the time of its release, widely assumed but never explicitly stated to be the Vietnam War). ‘Ruby’ was originally recorded in 1967 by Johnny Darrell, who scored a #9 country hit with it that year. The song was made world-famous in 1969 by Kenny Rogers & The First Edition.

“In 1969, after Kenny Rogers and the First Edition’s success with the hits ‘Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)‘ and ‘But You Know I Love You’, Rogers wanted to take his group more into a country music direction. They recorded their version of ‘Ruby’ (with Rogers singing the lead) in one take. The record was a major hit for them. It made #1 in the UK, staying in the UK Top 20 for 15 weeks. In the United States it reached #6 on the Hot 100 and #39 on the country chart. Worldwide, the single sold more than 7 million copies.