Reba McEntire’s classic song “Fancy” is a simultaneously sad and uplifting story.
It tells the story of a woman whose mother sent her away from their home to free her from poverty. However, to do so, the mother gives the 18-year-old Fancy to wealthy older men. “…just be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy. They’ll be nice to you,” McEntire sings. “…Here’s your one chance, Fancy, don’t let me down… Your mama’s gonna move you uptown…”
As time passes, Fancy promises herself that she would not just survive – but thrive. “…I couldn’t see spending the rest of my life with my hung down in shame.,” McEntire sings. “You know I might have been born just plain white trash, but Fancy was my name…”
After being taken in from the streets by a wealthy man, Fancy’s life changes. “I charmed a king, a congressman and an occasional aristocrat. And then I got me a Georgia mansion… And I ain’t done bad…,” the song continues.
In the end, Fancy comes to terms with the decision her mother made and how that choice changed her life forever. “And I guess she did,” the songs end referencing how her mother freed her from poverty.
Recently, Reba McEntire shared what “Fancy” means to her and why it has been such a popular song since 1990.
“It’s a rags-to-riches story,” McEntire told CountryLiving.com. “I love rags-to-riches stories. Cinderella, Annie Get Your Gun, all poverty and then make it big in the world. Well, she did, too. Fancy—she had a lot going against her and she persevered and moved on.”
Bobbie Gentry originally recorded “Fancy” in 1969. Her version never reached the popularity of McEntire’s.
Reba McEntire’s TikTok account recently featured “Fancy” as a way to announce that the singer had joined the social media platform.