On This Day: Waylon Jennings Records ‘Lucille (You Won’t Do Your Daddy’s Will)’ in Nashville in 1983

by Matthew Wilson
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It’s been 38 years since Waylon Jennings recorded his hit song “Lucille (You Won’t Do Your Daddy’s Will) back during the 1980s. With its strong country sounds and Jennings’ remarkable vocals, the tune was an instant hit for the artist. This was, even more, an extraordinary feat, considering Jennings’ version is a cover.

Jennings recorded his cover of the tune on Jan. 17, 1983, at Nashville’s Cartee 3 Studios. The country singer lent his signature twang and baritone to the lyrics. “Lucille, you won’t do your daddy’s will / Oh, Lucille, you just won’t do your daddy’s will / Well, there ain’t nothing to you, but I love you still / Oh, Lucille, please come back where you belong / I’ve been good to you, baby / Please don’t leave me alone.”

Little Richard Performed the Original Tune

The original singer of the tune may surprise many. But Little Richard himself originally recorded the rock n’ roll hit “Lucille” in 1957. The two versions couldn’t be more different from each other. Richard was known for his high wire, electric voice that’s highly distinct and unable to replicate. Jennings could never sing like Richard, just like Richard could never sing like Jennings. Its’ an apples to oranges comparison.

Likewise, Richard’s version featured a rocking, jiving soundtrack to match Richard’s vocals. Meanwhile, Jennings’ version is pure country through and through. The singer altered some of the song lyrics as well. For instance, originally Richard was singing about Lucille’s sister but Jennings changed it to her father.

Upon release, Jennings earned himself his 12th No. 1 hit of his career.

Waylon Jennings Performed the Song Live

Jennings didn’t just leave the tune to wither away in some recording booth. He also brought the song to the huddled masses at his concerts. He performed the song notably during a live set at the U.S. Festival in 1983. The festival was held 60 miles outside of Los Angeles with an entire day devoted to country music. Only two of these festivals were ever held before the concert series was discontinued.

Almost 300,000 people showed up. And Jennings entertained his audience while wearing his signature blue shirt, black cowboy hat combo. The tune went on to be remembered as one of Jennings’ best.

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