About The Song

Kenny Rogers’ “Coward of the County” is a country ballad that tells a story of heroism and shattered expectations. Here’s a deeper look into this classic song:

Origins and Release:

  • Written by Roger Bowling and Billy Edd Wheeler.
  • Released in 1979 as the second single from Rogers’ multi-platinum album “Kenny.”

Genre: Country

Lyrics and Theme:

  • The song tells the story of a man named Tommy, nicknamed “The Coward of the County” by the townspeople because he never fights back against bullies.
  • The lyrics reveal that Tommy isn’t actually a coward, but a kind-hearted soul who avoids violence (“He never would complain at nothin’ / He just took it all in stride”).
  • The song takes a dramatic turn when Tommy steps in to protect a young boy from bullies, ultimately sacrificing himself.
  • The tragic ending challenges perceptions of courage and heroism.

Legacy and Impact:

  • “Coward of the County” became a major hit for Kenny Rogers, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
  • The song resonated with listeners for its exploration of true bravery and the importance of standing up for what’s right.
  • It remains a powerful ballad that continues to be enjoyed by country music fans today.
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Interesting Facts:

  • The song inspired a made-for-television movie of the same name in 1981, starring Kenny Rogers himself.
  • The ballad-style melody and Rogers’ distinctive vocals contribute to the song’s emotional impact.

Want to hear the song?

You can find “Coward of the County” by Kenny Rogers on most streaming platforms. There’s also the official music video available on YouTube: you can search for “Kenny Rogers – Coward Of The County (Official Video)”.

Here are some additional questions you might be interested in:

  • Are there other Kenny Rogers songs you’d like to explore?
  • Would you like to know more about country music ballads?
  • Are you interested in learning about other songs that explore themes of heroism?

Video

Lyrics

🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics! 🎤
Everyone considered him the coward of the countyHe’d never stood one single time to prove the county wrongHis mama named him Tommy, but folks just called him YellowBut something always told me, they were reading Tommy wrong
He was only ten years old when his daddy died in prisonI looked after Tommy, ’cause he was my brother’s sonI still recall the final words my brother said to Tommy“Son, my life is over, but yours has just begun”
“Promise me, son, not to do the things I’ve doneWalk away from trouble if you canNow it won’t mean you’re weak if you turn the other cheekI hope you’re old enough to understandSon, you don’t have to fight to be a man”
There’s someone for everyone and Tommy’s love was BeckyIn her arms, he didn’t have to prove he was a manOne day while he was working, the Gatlin boys came callingThey took turns at Becky an’ there was three of them
Tommy opened up the door and saw Becky cryingThe torn dress, the shattered look was more than he could standHe reached above the fireplace and took down his daddy’s pictureAs his tears fell on his daddy’s face, he heard these words again
“Promise me, Son, not to do the things I’ve doneWalk away from trouble if you canNow it won’t mean you’re weak if you turn the other cheekI hope you’re old enough to understandSon, you don’t have to fight to be a man”
The Gatlin boys just laughed at him when he walked into the bar roomOne of them got up and met him half way cross the floorWhen Tommy turned around they said, “Hey look! Old Yellow’s leaving”But you could’ve heard a pin drop when Tommy stopped and locked the door
Twenty years of crawling was bottled up inside himHe wasn’t holding nothing back, he let ’em have it allWhen Tommy left the bar room, not a Gatlin boy was standingHe said, “This one’s for Becky”, as he watched the last one fallAnd I heard him say
“I promised you, Dad, not to do the things you’ve doneI walk away from trouble when I canNow please don’t think I’m weak, I didn’t turn the other cheekAnd Papa, I should hope you understandSometimes you gotta fight when you’re a man”
Everyone considered him the coward of the county

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