This song, about an unfaithful wife who walks out on her husband and four children at an inopportune moment, was written by Hal Bynum and Roger Bowling. The latter also wrote "Blanket On The Ground" for Billie Jo Spears. Other hits written by Bynum include "The Old, Old House" (George Jones, Bill Monroe) and "Chains" (Patty Loveless).
The song was inspired by real-life events, as Bynum's own marriage was in trouble when he started writing this tune. He was struggling with the temptation of another woman's amorous advances and as his wife was preparing herself for a trip away, Bynum said, "You picked a fine time to leave me." Bowling then helped Bynum in altering the song to a barroom situation, inspired by the sight of a couple arguing at the Greyhound bus station in Toledo.
"Lucille" was Kenny Rogers' first major hit as a solo artist after leaving his band The First Edition the previous year. An international success, it was the first of 21 Country #1s for the singer.
Rogers told Q magazine April 2009 that every night he does a show and he begins this song, he can guarantee that in the first four rows there will be someone who says, "Hey, my name is Lucille." He added: "They always think they are the first person to think of it. You can't fight it. I must have covered most of them by now."
Kenny Rogers' mother was named Lucille; when she heard the song, she called her son to admonish him because she thought it was about her. Kenny explained that he didn't write the song, and no reasonable person would think that Mrs. Rogers would leave four hungry children to cheat on her husband. Lucille Rogers actually had eight children.
This won the 1977 Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance and was the winner of the CMA award for Single Of The Year.
In ribald piano bars, the crowd will sometimes shout back some very disparaging things about Lucille (typically ending with you ask for more) after the line, "You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille."