Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town- My Favorite Sad Song

Every time I hear this song, it makes me feel emotional. I don't understand why it pulls my heartstrings to such an extent - is it the words, is it the music, is it the desperation in Kenny Rodger's voice, or is it a combination of all three?

I know not. I just know it brings tears to my eyes, and a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. Now that's what I call songwriting.

The song, which came out in 1969, gives a very visual picture, and, as the words come tumbling out, each time I hear it, I see this brave and struggling Vietnam War veteran, sitting in his wheelchair, desperate to keep his beloved Ruby's love, and as he watches her doing up her makeup to go out, he begs her not to leave him. He is fully aware of his limitations and knows he can no longer satisfy her needs, but he is afraid of being abandoned and losing his lover and feels completely impotent.

I feel every one of those emotions, and it tears my heart. What sort of idiot must I be, that it affects me so emotionally? I'm not a war veteran, I didn't support that war, I've never been in this situation, and I'm not a man, so what is it?

I'll tell you what it is - this song, Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town, has very powerful empathy, and Kenny Rodgers and the band knew just how to play it with maximum feeling and effect. The Vietnam War is over, but there are still wounded soldiers coming home, and this song is for all of them.

Number Ones
Number Ones

CD or MP3 versions available


More great music by Kenny Rogers - There's many a good tune played on an old fiddle

Listen to Kenny Rogers singing Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town on this video

This one is great because you can read the lyrics as you listen

Broken Hearted
Broken Hearted

Do you love "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" as much aas I do?

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Do leave a comment - did it bring back any old memories? 17 comments

SusanDeppner profile image

SusanDeppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

Kenny Rogers does amazing things with his voice. Great song!

Brite-Ideas profile image

Brite-Ideas 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

wonderful review - will promote in all my usual places :), thank you!

tonyleather 3 years ago

A fantastic song by a legendary singer! Thanks!

Ruthi 3 years ago

It is nice to know I am not the only one who is so deeply affected by this song. Kenny Rogers hits right at the heart with Ruby.

Merrci profile image

Merrci 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

Your description is excellent. I hadn't thought of it for awhile but thinking about it while reading tightens my heart (how's that for an odd description). Great lens on a great song.

Susan Zutautas profile image

Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Love "Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town"

Gloriousconfusion profile image

Gloriousconfusion 3 years ago from United Kingdom Author

@Brite-Ideas: Thank you so much!

Carol Houle profile image

Carol Houle 3 years ago from Montreal

My favorite song by Kenny (& the First Edition) is "Something's Burning". I always wished it was longer.

My sad Kenny Rogers song is "She Believes in Me". Being married to a traveling man seems difficult. Being married to a musician is harder still. My top SAD song from that era is "Reflections of My Life" by Marmalade. Rips me up, throws me down and kicks me out!

Gloriousconfusion profile image

Gloriousconfusion 3 years ago from United Kingdom Author

@Carol Houle: I don't know any of those, but maybe if I heard them I would recognize them.

Charito1962 profile image

Charito1962 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

My favorite Kenny Rogers hit is "What About Me" with James Ingram and Kim Carnes.

Gypzeerose profile image

Gypzeerose 3 years ago

Thanks for the sweet review. I didn't realize the song was about a Vietnam vet - I guess I never listened to it, just caught the tune.

Gloriousconfusion profile image

Gloriousconfusion 3 years ago from United Kingdom Author

@Gypzeerose: You can tell by the date the song came out - 1969

Brite-Ideas profile image

Brite-Ideas 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Just stopping by to congratulate you for review of the day as well :)

Gloriousconfusion profile image

Gloriousconfusion 3 years ago from United Kingdom Author

@Brite-Ideas: Thanks, I was so pleased!

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DebMartin 3 years ago

Yes. Love the song, love the man.

wilderness profile image

wilderness 23 months ago from Boise, Idaho

Whenever I hear this, I also think of "Lucille", also by Kenny. I don't know which I like better.

Gloriousconfusion profile image

Gloriousconfusion 21 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Yes, I suppose the idea is the same, but I just think Ruby is a better tune

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    Gloriousconfusion profile image

    Diana Grant (Gloriousconfusion)175 Followers
    160 Articles

    I was a teenager when rock and roll came out, and not being allowed to play "that disgusting music" at home made me more keen! Still keen.

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