Late last year, Reba McEntire celebrated 25 years of her Read My Mind album with an anniversary expanded edition. Now, she’s following that up by revisiting her 3x platinum 1990 smash Rumor Has It in similar fashion. On September 11, Rumor Has It will return from MCA Nashville in a new edition with two bonus versions of its top ten hit “Fancy”: a live acoustic take recorded at Music City’s famed Ryman Auditorium and a dance remix by Dave Audé (who recently remixed Barbara Mandrell’s “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed” for MCA).
Rumor Has It arrived on the heels of 1989’s Sweet Sixteen and Reba Live, the superstar’s final two albums co-produced by her longtime collaborator (and label head) Jimmy Bowen. Those continued her hit streak and both were certified platinum. The stakes were high for her new album which would be co-produced by Tony Brown, a onetime pianist for Elvis Presley who would go into A&R and ultimately ascend to the presidency of MCA Nashville himself. He recalled to Billboard in 2018, “Reba needed a new producer, and she said, ‘Bowen trained him. Let’s use him.'” Their first project together ended up setting quite a high bar. Rumor Has It was named after the Bruce Burch/Vern Dant/Larry Shell song which became a No. 3 Country hit in the U.S. and a No. 1 in Canada when it was released as the album’s second single. Even more successful was the first: Bobby Fischer, Charlie Black, and Austin Roberts’ reflection on the disintegration of a marriage, “You Lie.” It became a No. 1 in both the U.S. and its northern neighbor.
The LP also featured an interpretation of folk artist Jesse Winchester’s “You Remember Me” and a future TV theme song. “Climb That Mountain High” was penned by Reba and Don Schlitz (“The Gambler”) and was selected to open Delta Burke’s 1992-1993 ABC sitcom Delta. Reba would guest-star on the series in which Burke portrayed an aspiring country singer. But the album’s most beloved track was perhaps its most unexpected.
“About mid-way through [the sessions],” Tony Brown told Billboard, “she says, ‘I want to cut “Fancy.” Do you remember that song?’ I said, ‘I saw Bobbie Gentry do it in Oklahoma City when she opened for Glen Campbell. I love that song.’ She said, ‘Bowen wouldn’t let me cut it.’ I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ It’s become the staple of her career.” Indeed, McEntire is now as closely identified with the song as its author, the enigmatic singer-songwriter Gentry. Some in the country scene were shocked that McEntire would record a song in which the heroine turns to prostitution and becomes a successful escort; Gentry herself once asserted to After Dark that “‘Fancy’ is my strongest statement for women’s lib, if you really listen to it. I agree wholeheartedly with that movement and all the serious issues that they stand for – equality, equal pay, day care centers, and abortion rights.” Yet “Fancy” struck a serious chord with McEntire’s fans. Gentry’s original had become a No. 26 Country hit but crossed over to the Hot 100 at No. 31 and did even better on the AC chart (No. 8); McEntire’s take reached No. 8 Country in both the U.S. and Canada. The song inspired one of Reba’s most popular music videos and even today is one of her steadiest sellers today on digital services.
The two bonus versions of “Fancy” will be appended to the CD and digital versions of the reissue. The vinyl reissue will only feature the original album sequence plus the acoustic “Fancy.” Reba states in the press release, “I never imagined I’d get the chance to put out an album for a second time. It’s just so much fun to look back and remember where we were and what we were doing when they were originally released. This album in particular is very special to me because it was the first time I got to record with Tony Brown and he was the reason I finally got to record ‘Fancy.’ Now here we are 30 years later and I never end a show without singing that song.” McEntire will have another chance to perform it live when she hopefully returns to the stage for a planned 13-date tour next summer.
The expanded Rumor Has It is set for release on September 11 from MCA Nashville on CD and digital/streaming, with the original album plus the acoustic “Fancy” coming to vinyl on the same date. Look for it at the links below!
Reba McEntire, Rumor Has It (MCA MCAD-10016, 1990 – reissued MCA Nashville, 2020)
CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
CD & Vinyl Merchandise Bundles (Including Autographed Bundles): Reba McEntire Store
Exclusive Orange Vinyl: Wal-Mart
- Climb That Mountain High
- Rumor Has It
- Waitin’ for the Deal to Go Down
- You Lie
- Now You Tell Me
- Fallin’ Out of Love
- This Picture
- You Remember Me
- That’s All She Wrote
- Fancy (Dave Aude Remix)
- Fancy (Live at the Ryman)