Little Richard – Lucille

Little Richard isn’t just a singer he is a force of nature. I think he would have been successful now or any decade. He is one of the best singers I’ve heard in rock and roll. His voice is brash, intense, rough, soulful, and magical. He takes you to the edge of the cliff and when you think he will go over he pulls it back.

The song peaked at #1 on the Billboard R&B chart, #21 on the US pop chart, and #10 on the UK charts.

Little Richard wrote this song. This was released at a time when Richard was hot…he sold millions of records in 1956 and 1957. His songs were also very successful for other artists, who sometimes outsold him with his own songs.

“Lucille” was covered by The Everly Brothers, who matched Richard’s #21 peak position on the charts with their version in 1960. Waylon Jennings had a #1 Country hit when he recorded this on his 1983 album It’s Only Rock and Roll, and other artists to cover the song include Van Halen, Deep Purple, Johnny Winter, Bill Haley & His Comets, Otis Redding, AC/DC and The Hollies.

Little Richard: “I don’t know what inspired me to write it, it may have been the rhythm.” Certainly, the lyrics serve the rhythm, with the nonsensical first line “Lucille, won’t you do your sister’s will” scanning to the beat.

From Songfacts

This song began as a ballad Richard wrote called “Directly From My Heart to You,” which he recorded as a member of The Johnny Otis band in 1955. “Directly From My Heart to You” was released by Peacock Records as a B-side, and when Little Richard recorded for Specialty Records in September 1955, he tried recording the song for his first album. It didn’t make the cut, but Richard’s career took off, and when he needed another single in 1957, he revived the song, but gave it the sound that made him a star, speeding up the tempo considerably.

The lyrics were completely rewritten, and Richard went to a common theme for his hits: a girl’s name. If Lucille was based on a real woman who broke Richard’s heart, he isn’t saying.
If there was a real Lucille, it would probably be either Richard’s (female) lover Lee Angel, or his mentor Steve Reeder Jr., who performed under the name Esquerita. Little Richard hasn’t kept a lot of secrets, so it’s more likely that he did make up Lucille. His next single was also named after a girl: “Jenny, Jenny.”

In a 1999 interview with Mojo magazine, Richard explained: “The effects and rhythms you hear on my songs, I got ’em from the trains that passed by my house. Like ‘Lucille’ came from a train – Dadas-dada-dada-dada, I got that from the train.”

Other popular Lucille’s in music: B.B. King’s guitar is named Lucille, and Kenny Rogers had a hit with different song with the same title in 1977 – his is the one that goes, “You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille…”

The Everly Brothers 1960 version broke new ground but using several guitarists on the track all at once. Recorded in Nashville and arranged by Don Everly, that sound later appeared on Roy Orbison’s hit “(Oh) Pretty Woman.”

In 1993, Little Richard sang this on Sesame Street as “Rosita,” in tribute to the blue monster of the same name.

Lucille

Lucille, won’t you do your sister’s will?
Oh, Lucille, won’t you do your sister’s will?
Well, you ran away and left, I love you still.

Lucille, please, come back where you belong.
Oh, Lucille, please, come back where you belong.
I been good to you, baby, please, don’t leave me alone.

Lucille, baby, satisfy my heart.
Oh, Lucille, baby, satisfy my heart.
I slaved for you, baby, and gave you such a wonderful start.

I woke up this morning, Lucille was not in sight.
I asked her friends about her but all their lips were tight.
Lucille, please, come back where you belong.
I been good to you, baby, please, don’t leave me alone.

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

17 thoughts on “Little Richard – Lucille”

  1. It’s a great song, and Little Richard had a lot of imitators but nobody could come up to his talent.
    One of the versions of it I like is Paul McCartney from 1981 – look on youtube for Rockestra doing it.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, concert for Kampuchea and I think I got the date wrong! I’m trying to remember if it was aso that concert in which Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel sang together. Not sure.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know Bonham was there and The Clash..I’ll find out soon…I will do a post on this. I never knew much about it but I do have some bootleg video clips of Pete Townshend and Bonham playing.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I had it on video (VHS, that dates me!) Come to think of it, I probably still have, but not sure if the player still works. I look forward to your post on it.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I had a reader the other day metion that concert…I faintly remember it when it happened being a Beatles fan…I want to see it again.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I know…he covered a lot of them. Little Richard is one of the most pure rock and roll singers…but he could do ballads also.

      Like

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