|Single by Kenny Rogers|
|from the album Greatest Hits|
|"Sweet Music Man"|
|Released||September 29, 1980 (U.S.)|
|Kenny Rogers singles chronology|
It is listed at #60 on Billboard's All Time Top 100.
The song was written and produced by Lionel Richie, recorded in 1980, and ranks among Kenny Rogers's biggest hits. Rogers once told an interviewer, "The idea was that Lionel would come from R&B and I'd come from country, and we'd meet somewhere in pop."
The success of "Lady" also boosted Richie's career. The production work on the song was his first outside the Commodores and foreshadowed his success as a solo act during the 1980s. Rogers was also a featured vocalist on "We Are the World", co-written by Richie. Richie performed the song himself on his 1998 album, Time, and he and Rogers performed the song as a duet on Richie's 2012 release Tuskegee. Lionel Richie had originally pitched this song to the Commodores and they turned it down. Then later, it was given to Kenny Rogers to record and it became the biggest selling hit single for him as a solo artist.
Since his breakup with the First Edition, Rogers had tasted considerable success as a solo act, with nine No. 1 entries on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart (prior to the release of "Lady"), plus several Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary Singles charts.
"Lady," according to music historian Fred Bronson, would prove to be an important record for both Richie and Rogers. It became the first record of the 1980s to chart on all four of Billboard magazine's singles charts - country, Hot 100, adult contemporary and Top Black Singles.
It reached No. 1 on three of those charts in late 1980. On the Hot 100, "Lady" peaked at the summit on 15 November and stayed at the top for a massive six-week stint (tying with Blondie's "Call Me" for the longest run of the year). On 27 December it would be knocked out of the top spot by "(Just Like) Starting Over" by John Lennon. On the Hot Country Singles chart, it would spend a week at the summit. "Lady" also peaked at number forty-two on the Top Black Singles chart.
As a country entry, "Lady" was Rogers' 10th chart-topping hit in a career that saw him collect 20 No. 1 songs between 1977 and 2000. On the Hot 100, it was his only solo chart-topping song, although Rogers would have a duet No. 1 three years later (1983's "Islands in the Stream" with Dolly Parton). On the Adult Contemporary Singles chart, "Lady" was Rogers' second (of eight) songs that reached the chart's summit. Billboard ranked it at the No. 3 song for 1981.