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A little tune got stuck inside Mark McGuinn's head, and it was driving him nuts. "I'd been carrying this maddening tune around for so long, and I was watching a movie called Friday starring Ice Cube," remembers Mark. "These guys were all sitting out on the porch, watching their neighbor mow the lawn. They're all going, 'Wow! Look at Mrs. such 'n' such! She's so fine!' They were so enamored with this neighbor who was really hot. It was hilarious."

The scene made such an impression on Mark that it sparked the idea for one of country's surprise hits of the year.

"When I saw that scene, I thought, 'That's it! That's how I could write this song!' " Mark recalls. "I began working on it and immediately wrote the first chorus."

Mark then headed to the house of his co-writer, Shane Decker, and the two had a ball coming up with the rest of the lyrics.

"We laughed the whole time we were writing it," Mark remembers. "Shane's a great wordsmith. He's the one who came up with the hook for the second verse. We were talking about why this woman was lonely, and Shane referred to her husband as Mr. Ugly

"I said, 'That's it!' And we built the entire second verse - Sometimes Mrs. Rudy calls cryin' late at night/'Cause her and Mr. Ugly have had another fight - on that line."

Mark admits he never imagined that their quirky little tune would become such a smash. "I had no idea the song would do what it has. It's been amazing. When I sing it live, audiences sing every word with me."

So did Mark have a "Mrs. Steven Rudy" in his life? "I think everybody has had someone like that," he admits. For Mark, it was a married student teacher in high school. "I don't even remember her name," he laughs, "but every guy in that high school was infatuated with her."

Mark says catchy tunes are always zipping around in his mind. "I've always been able to form melodies pretty quickly and easily, but I'd never tried my hand as a wordsmith," he says. "I didn't even start writing until I came to Nashville eight years ago, so my mind was a blank slate as far as learning the structures of songs.

"But now that I've learned the rules, it's starting to get fun." He smiles. "Because now I'm breaking them!"

- Marianne Horner


"Mrs. Steven Rudy"
Written by Shane Decker and Mark McGuinn
Performed by Mark McGuinn

I get up on Sundays about eight-fifteen
Just to get the paper that I never read
Because I know she'll be there barely in her robe
Sittin' on her front porch paintin' on her toes
Her husband's always on the road

Hey, Mrs. Steven Rudy
You don't know what you do to me
Every night I dream one day of being with you
Hey, Mrs. Steven Rudy
You're the neighborhood beauty|
That wedding ring's as ugly
As your husband is to you

Sometimes Mrs. Rudy calls cryin' late at night
'Cause her and Mr. Ugly have had another fight
We talk a while I hear her smile
When she says thank you I tell her that she's welcome
Like any friend would do
I only wish she knew

Imagination, infatuation
I'm what she deserves
I wonder if she thinks about me
The way I think about her

Oh Mrs. Rudy
That wedding ring's as ugly to me
As your husband is to you
Mrs. Rudy, you don't know
You don't know what you do to me

Words and Music by Shane Decker & Mark McGuinn
© 2001 WB Music Corp., Neon Mule Music (ASCAP)
All rights administered by
WB Music Corp. (ASCAP)/Cal IV Songs (ASCAP)
All rights on behalf of Cal IV
Songs administered by Cal IV Entertainment, Inc.
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.