That”s a killer country hook in and of itself. But songwriters Rich Fagan and Robb Royer didn”t stop there with their song “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident).”
The chorus continues at the furious pace of an auctioneer: “To the lady in the second row/ She”s an eight, she”s a nine, she”s a 10 I know/ She”s got ruby red lips, blonde hair, blue eyes/ And I”m about to bid my heart goodbye.”
John Michael Montgomery cut the motor-mouthed tune in 1995 and was rewarded for his efforts with a No. 1 hit. Fagan recalled the inspiration for the tune with Bart Herbison, executive director of Nashville Songwriters Association International.
You are watching: Sold to the lady in the second row
Bart Herbison: I always thought that you”d been up to Grundy County and this actually happened — but you made the whole thing up.
Rich Fagan: Yeah. Robb Royer and I were at this benefit at the Boardwalk Cafe, and we were talking. … He said, “Could we write a song about an auction?” I said, “Sure. I know there”s only one song — “The Auctioneer” by Leroy Van Dyke, and I don”t really know how it goes, so let”s have at it.” We got a good start on it, maybe a first verse and part of the chorus. I said, “Hey, man, how about we say, “I”m going once, going twice, sold?” ” And he said, “No.” But he called me up about a half hour later …
I”m glad he called you back.
But Robb”s like that. We wrote another song, and you couldn”t say “L.A.” twice. I went, “City of Angels?” (He said,) “Good, good.” The other thing (on “Grundy County”) was we pretty much had the chorus, and we hadn”t gotten to “going once, going twice, sold.” Usually in a chorus, that would be (the end). But that”s not it, and I think that”s what made it even hookier. Just when you think you”ve heard the hook, boom. We hit you with (the rest).
The first time I did it at the Boardwalk Cafe, I got a standing ovation in the middle of the song. It”s not a listening room, and man, I quieted the room. I said, “I know this is a hit.”
A funny thing about Grundy County — (radio host) Austin Church of the “Chili Shack” show, he said, “Rich, where”d you get Grundy County from?” I said, “Well, remember you did a bit on the “Chili Shack” and said so-and-so from Grundy County won a free trip to Alabama and a year”s supply of potted meat?” He said, “Do I get credit?” I said, “No.” (laughs)
Have you ever auctioneered? It sounds like it.
No. I can talk fast, but Chris Clark wrote a song twice as fast as that called “Hectic,” … now that”s a fast song. It never got cut, because nobody could sing it.
— Compiled by Dave Paulson, dnpaulson
About the series
In partnership with Nashville Songwriters Association International, each week we will release a video interview with a songwriter about his or her work. See the full interview with Rich Fagan at jonathanlewisforcongress.com/music along with past installments.
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