Lionel Richie Wrote Kenny Rogers’ Song “Lady” “In the Toilet,” Rogers Says

Lionel Richie and Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers revealed that Lionel Richie wrote the hit song "Lady" while in a bathroom at a recording studio Gary Miller/WireImage

Some people get their best ideas in the shower. Lionel Richie apparently does his thinking elsewhere in the bathroom. According to longtime pal Kenny Rogers, the "Hello" singer wrote Rogers' 1980 hit song "Lady" while "in the toilet" at a recording studio.

"I called Lionel, and I said, 'I'd like for you to write a song for me,'" the "Islands in the Stream" singer, now 75, recalled on the Today show on Thursday, Aug. 14. "Lionel doesn't write entire songs. He writes ideas."

Sometimes unfinished ideas. Rogers — the subject of a new exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn. — said Richie had to finish Rogers' signature song "Lady" in the bathroom on the day they laid down the track.

"So, we're in the studio recording the song, and I said, 'Where's the second verse?'" he told Today correspondent Jenna Bush Hager. "They said, 'Lionel's in the toilet writing it right now.' I go, 'What?' And they said, 'Yeah, he can't write unless he has the pressure to write.'"

Incredulous, Bush Hager asked, "And so it was on a piece of toilet paper?"

"Yeah, I don't know," Rogers replied, laughing. "I don't know what it was on. But he went in there to kinda get away from everything, to focus."

Whatever he did, it worked. "Lady," which Richie also produced, was a huge hit, topping Billboard's Hot 100 chart for six weeks in a row in 1980.

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