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

Updated on May 10, 2018
Gloriousconfusion profile image

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.

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 Roger'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.

This is my Original 45 rpm Record of Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town - It's 49 Years Old

Kenny Rogers and The First Edition on Reprise Label
Kenny Rogers and The First Edition on Reprise Label | Source

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 profoundly? 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 all round the world there are still wounded soldiers coming home, traumatized by the horrors of war, and suffering, and this song is for each and every one of them.

Here Are Some of the Words to the Lyrics, Which Were Written by Mel Tillis

Sometimes, as I put on my lipstick and smarten up to go out and meet friends, the words of the first verse flow through my mind. The whole situation must be so awful and the husband so desperate and lonely as he senses impending doom.

I Don't Know What the Younger Generation Think of This Song

Being nearly fifty years old, the record came out well before the time when Millennials and beyond would have sat and mooned over it.

It isn't Dance Music or Club Music but Country and Western.

However. I think Ruby is probably famous enough to be high on the list of best Country and Western music ever.

Here's some more great music, sung by Kenny Rogers (including Ruby, of course).

There's many a good tune played on an old fiddle:

You Can Also Listen to Kenny Rogers singing Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town on The Video Below

There are several versions on YouTube, but this is the one that I prefer, mainly because, out of the many live versions, this is the one where his voice sounds most like the one on my record and, judging from the number of "Likes", it is one of the most popular.

Kenny Rogers With The First Edition Sings Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town - Youtube Video Viewed by Over 5 Million People

Broken Hearted


Here's a Poll - Let's See What Everyone Thinks:

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

See results

© 2014 Diana Grant

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

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    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      4 years ago from United Kingdom

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

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 

      4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

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

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Yes. Love the song, love the man.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

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

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

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

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

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

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      5 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.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      5 years ago from Manila, Philippines

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

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

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

    • Carol Houle profile image

      Carol Houle 

      5 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 imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Brite-Ideas: Thank you so much!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      5 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.

    • profile image


      5 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.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      A fantastic song by a legendary singer! Thanks!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

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

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      5 years ago from Arkansas USA

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


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