Reba McEntire Shares the Meaning of Her Song ‘Fancy’ and Why It’s Still Popular Today

Reba McEntire Shares the Meaning of Her Song ‘Fancy’ and Why It’s Still Popular Today

“It’s a rags-to-riches story.”

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Reba McEntire released “Fancy” in 1990.
It was first recorded by Bobbie Gentry in the ’60s.


The ACMs host opens up about the meaning of the song, and why it’s still popular today.
Reba McEntire has been in the music industry for over 40 years. If we named every hit the 64-year-old has released (“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” “Does He Love You,” “I’m a Survivor”), we’d be here until the ACM Awards start on Sunday. But despite her many successes, there’s one song that stands out above the rest.

In 1990, Reba released “Fancy” on her album, Rumor Has It. The story of a poor girl who’s forced to make ends meet captivated audiences and still remains one of her most famous pieces of work. Here’s everything to know about Reba’s perennial popular tune.

Country queen: The 34-year-old Reba McEntyre treated Massey Hall audiences at two shows Friday night

Mike Slaughter//Getty Images. Reba in the late 80s.

What does the song “Fancy” mean?

“It’s a rags-to-riches story,” Reba tells CountryLiving.com while discussing her brand-new album, Stronger Than the Truth. “I love rags-to-riches stories. Cinderella, Annie Get Your Gun, all poverty and then make it big in the world.”

She continues, “Well, she did, too. Fancy—she had a lot going against her and she persevered and moved on.”

Fancy did have a lot of obstacles in her way. To sum it up, Fancy’s ill mother used the “last penny we had” to buy her a dress. After dolling her daughter up, she sent Fancy off into the world with this advice:

“Just be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy, and they’ll be nice to you.”


Though heartbreaking, Fancy does pull herself up from her bootstraps, eventually charming a congressman, “occasional aristocrat,” and earning herself a Georgian mansion and New York townhouse.

Who sang “Fancy” before Reba?
You may be shocked to learn that “Fancy” isn’t actually an original Reba hit. Bobbie Gentry first recorded it in 1969. According to Rolling Stone, Bobbie’s version only made it to 26 on the country charts.

Fancy
It remained one of Reba’s favorites, though. “I always wanted to record it,” Reba says. “Then [producer] Tony Brown said, ‘What’s a song you’d like to do a remake of?’ And I said, ‘Fancy.’ He said, ‘That’s one of my favorite songs, too.’ And so we recorded it.”

Is “Fancy” a true story?
There’s nothing to suggest that “Fancy” is based off real events, but the music video sure made it seem believable!

Reba practically turned the release into a mini movie, where she played the titular role of Fancy—a full-blown star who is returning home to make peace with her past. She eventually turns her shack into a refuge for runaways, giving this sad story a meaningful ending that only the queen of country could pull off.

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