John Michael Montgomery, ‘Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)’ – Lyrics Uncovered
John Michael Montgomery’s 1995 single, ‘Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident),’ has gone down as one of the singer’s most-played and possibly biggest hits of his career. It was a tune that songwriters Richard Fagan and Robb Royer felt was unique enough to stand on its own.
“Robb had just moved to town. We had written one song together, and we were at a songwriter’s benefit at the Boardwalk Cafe,” Fagen tells Taste of Country. “He met a slow-talkin’ Tennessean, and they got to talking. Robb asked him what he did, and he said, ‘I’m an auctioneer.'”
“Robb saw him on stage later that night and he got to thinking that we should write an auction song together,” Fagan continues. “To my knowledge, there was only one other auction song out and that was in the ’70s. I told Robb sure! We got together and wrote it.”
The song’s opening verse sets the scene and grabs the interest of the listener right off the bat:
“Well I went down to the Grundy County auction / Where I saw something I just had to have / My mind told me I should proceed with caution / But my heart said, ‘Go ahead and make a bid on that.'”
As they launched into writing the chorus, the writers tried to fit as much in as possible, making it reminiscent of an auction.
“And I said ‘Hey, pretty lady, won’t you gimme a sign / I’d give anything to make you mine, all mine / I’d do your bidding and be at your beck and call / Yeah, I’ve never seen anyone lookin’ so fine / Man, I gotta have her, she’s a one of a kind / I’m goin’ once, goin’ twice / I’m sold 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, blond hair, blue eyes / And I’m about to bid my heart goodbye,” Montgomery sings.
“It was another song with a lot of rattled off words,” notes Fagan, who also co-wrote Montgomery’s ‘Be My Baby Tonight.’ “I knew this was a song that would get people excited. I remember the first time I played it at the Boardwalk … by the time I hit the chorus, the whole place hushed. They loved it. I was absolutely positive I had a hit with it. I love that it’s a different song, and I love that they’re still playing it, and ‘Be My Baby Tonight,’ all these years later.”
Watch the John Michael Montgomery ‘Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident’ Video