Recorded and released in 1990, “Fancy” was a passion project for Reba, but one in which she never thought she would get to do.
Expressing a desire to re-record the Bobbie Gentry song as early as 1984, Reba’s producer at that time would not allow it, claiming the song was still too closely associated with Gentry.
Originally released in 1969, “Fancy” was the title track and lead single to Gentry’s record that came out the following year.
In 1990, after switching producers, Reba was completing the final touches on her album, Rumor Has It. She shared in an interview with Country Living that new producer, Tony Brown, asked her if there were any final pieces she wanted to include on the album:
“I always wanted to record it. 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.”
Much to their astonishment, “Fancy” became a Reba McEntire staple, surpassing Bobbie Gentry’s original on the country charts, and joining the ranks as one of country music’s greatest songs.
When it came time for the video production, Reba decided to create a visual narrative true to the story in the song. And alongside director Jack Cole, Reba herself starred as the grown-up Fancy and the backdrop of a snowy, overcast winter day in Franklin, Tennessee became the setting.
However, the story does make one minor change; “Mama died and I ain’t been back” doesn’t seem to be the case in Reba’s video adaption, instead, she paints a picture of a mature Fancy returning to her humble beginnings, flashing back to the day her mother sent her out on her own.
She also visits her mother’s grave, reassuring her mother that she did the right thing in the long-run.
The desolate condition of the “one-room, rundown shack” truly brings home the sadness of the story, while also revealing that Fancy took the opportunity and made the most of it, marrying a congressman and living a much different life than she had as a young girl.