Your Take: Ones That Got Away

Karlie Justus Marlowe | June 13th, 2009

On Tuesday’s News Roundup, Brody featured a quote from John Anderson, whose album Bigger Hands was released this week. Anderson talked with The Boot this week about a song that was almost his:

In the meantime, under the category “win some, lose some,” we wondered if John had ever turned down a record that was a hit for someone else. “I have – several,” he laughed. “The biggest one would be ‘Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On.’ The song came to us, and I had a lot of songs of my own at the time that I was wanting to get done. So that was part of the reason for us not doing so much outside material at the time. So we passed on the song, but my buddy Mel McDaniel had a huge hit on the song. Later on, I was at this party at MCA, and Conway Twitty was there. He came over to me and said, ‘How come you didn’t do that song I had them send over to you?’ I said, ‘What song was that? I never knew you sent a song, sir.’ He said, ‘That song, ‘Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On.’ He said, ‘They sent it to me first, and I told them you were the one that needed to record that song.’ You know, if I had known that Conway had sent it over, it probably would have made a difference. I was a huge Conway Twitty fan. I still am.”

Country music is full of these “what if…” stories, with the latest being Jamey Johnson and Trace Adkins’ tug of war over “In Color,” reported CMT:

“Yeah, I cut it,” Adkins told reporters backstage in Las Vegas. “I was actually in Vegas. I was playing at the Hilton, and Jamey, Dallas Davidson and Randy Houser [co-writers of ‘Honky Tonk Badonkadonk’] all came to the show that night, and they came backstage. Jamey came up to me and said, ‘Man, I’ve got a record deal. These people want to put out this album on me, and they want “In Color” to be my first single. What do you think?’ And I said, ‘Do it. It’s a great song, you’re a co-writer on it. I didn’t write it. I love the song, it’s beautiful. I wanted to put it on my album but it’s your song, man, so good luck.’ And the rest is history.”

George Jones even made an entire album out of songs he wished he’d gotten to first. Hits I Missed…and One I Didn’t found the Possum covering Alan Jackson’s “Here in the Real World,” Randy Travis’ “On the Other Hand” and Merle Haggard’s “Today I Started Loving You Again.”

Tell us a song (new or old) you’d like to hear a different artist put his or her own spin on and why. Of course, there are some songs so tightly associated and intertwined with their singers, it would just be a lost cause. What iconic songs, in your opinion, could never be touched by anyone except the artists that first brought them to life?

  1. highwayman3
    June 13, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Trisha Yearwood turned down ‘Strawberry Wine,’ and Reba was orignially going to record ‘She Didn’t Have Time,’ which makes me wonder what they would have sounded like by them. I would guess Trisha and Reba would have had the better sounding records.

  2. Stephen H.
    June 13, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    “She Didn’t Have Time” would have charted far higher than #25, if nothing else.

  3. Nicolas
    June 13, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Terri Clark’s voice is perfect for “She Didn’t Have Time” <3 It’s one of my favorites

    I like Trisha, but her turning down “Strawberry Wine” allowed Deana Carter to find success from it, so thats good – I luv Deana <3

  4. Paul W Dennis
    June 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Bobby Bare was the first to record “The Gambler” but didn’t release it as a single. The Kingston Trio recorded “Honey” first but could not get Decca to release the song. Lee Greenwood recorded “Wind Beneath My Wings” before anyone else – it was slated to be the second single off the IOU album, but Gary Morris’s label got his version to market before “I.O.U.” finished its chart run

    Too bad, because Greenwood’s version is easily the best veraion, although I really don’t like the song

  5. idlewildsouth
    June 13, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Hmmm..I dont know that I have any specific ideas as to what Id like to hear, and who Id like to hear do them. I will say that I really like Jamey Johnsons version of “Dreamin My Dreams” that he did.

    One thing I would like to hear, and I mentioned this at mykindofcountry, is for alot of these singers that got their start as demo singers, to release an album of songs that became hits for their peers, only after they put down the demo. I would love to hear some of Gretchen Wilsons stuff she did. I think Garth would probably have the fan base, as well as the marketing no how to make it work.

  6. Brady Vercher
    June 13, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Anyone else think it’d be cool to hear Lee Ann Womack do “Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning?”

  7. idlewildsouth
    June 13, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    That would be a great pairing. Thats a song that I love, but often forget about.

  8. JD
    June 13, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    In reverse….anyone ever hear Mark Chesnutt’s version of “Friends in Low Places”?

    Garth actually did the demo for the writers, who then pitched it to Mark for his first album. GB eventually put it on his second release and voila!

    MC’s version puts me to sleep

  9. Leeann Ward
    June 13, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    I agree. As much as I like Mark Chesnutt, his version of “Friends in Low Places” is extremely lifeless, especially compared to Garth’s.

  10. The Confessor
    June 13, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    Holy crap!

    I generally enjoy Mark Chesnutt’s vocals; his song “Thank God For Believers” was one of the first ones I downloaded from iTunes, but his version of “Friends in Low Places” is just… painful.

    Trace Adkins, by the way, experienced something similar to this with his version of “Break Down Here”, recorded more successfully by Julie Roberts, although his version doesn’t suffer nearly so much by the comparison as Chesnutt’s “Friends”.

    (Adkins actually did cut In Color; it’s a bonus track on the iTunes release of his album X. Listening to it is a somewhat strange experience, since although he has an objectively more capable voice than Jamey, I find myself preferring Jamey’s version.)

    Even though he missed out on “In Color”, I think that Adkins has found his relationship with Jamey Johnson to be quite profitable overall; without the song “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” that Jamey co-wrote, it’s unlikely that his mainstream profile would have been high enough to merit inclusion on Celebrity Apprentice, which itself (if I remember events properly) did great service to him by facilitating some crossover play of “You’re Gonna Miss This” that otherwise might not have happened.

  11. Noeller
    June 14, 2009 at 2:04 am

    Kix Brooks wrote the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Modern Day Romance” and I have always wanted to hear his original demo cut of it, or maybe have him and Ronnie do it together…??

  12. Leeann Ward
    June 14, 2009 at 7:40 am

    I don’t know about itunes, but Trace’s version of “In Color” is also available at Amazon. I’m just annoyed because it’s only available if you buy the whole album and I already bought the album pre-the-“In Color addition. I really hate being punished for not procrastinating to buy an album.

  13. ccdixon
    June 14, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Trace also considered recording “Letters From Home” which became a big hit for John Michael Montgomery.

    Tracy Byrd recorded a version of “Making Memories of Us” before Keith Urban and Mark Wills recorded “What Hurts the Most” before Rascal Flatts.

  14. Lee S.
    June 14, 2009 at 8:20 am

    I remember hearing that Joe Nichols was offered “Some Beach,” at first, but didn’t end up taking it.

    I also know Luke Bryan had planned to put his own cut of “Good Directions” on I’ll Stay Me, but Billy Currington released it as a single just before the album was finalized, so Luke dropped it. Luke’s version is released on iTunes, though.

  15. Bobby
    June 14, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I’ve heard that Blake was offered “I Wanna Talk About Me”, but the label thought it was too risky of a lead-off single. With Blake’s sense of humor, I think he would’ve had an interesting take on it.

    Collin Raye was offered “Someone Else’s Star” before Bryan White. I think he might have been a little better suited for that song since he doesn’t sound nearly as boyish as Bryan. Not so sure about Davis Daniel’s version though.

  16. Leeann Ward
    June 14, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Hey, what do you know? Luke’s version of “Good Directions” is also on Amazon and it wasn’t an “album only” track. He does a good enough job, but there’s just a refreshing charm about Billy Currington’s version that’s missing in Luke Bryan’s.

  17. idlewildsouth
    June 14, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    I think it really comes down to Billy Currington being more fun to listen to. I like Luke Bryan enough, but Billy has just the right amount of country in his voice to pull the song off without being too hokey, in my opinion.

  18. merlefan49
    June 14, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I remember being at an Oak Ridge Boy’s fan club picnic once. During a question and answer session, Joe Bonsall said they had turned down

    “Achy Breaky Heart”

  19. Leeann Ward
    June 14, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    You can also hear a kind of smirk in Billy’s voice that’s especially endearing in “Good Directions.”

  20. Grizzly Adam
    June 14, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Luke Bryan’s version sounds like Gomer Pyle covered it.

  21. Beach
    June 14, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    The Jake Owen song “Ghosts” was set aside for some time by Kenny Chesney but couldn’t find an album for it to coincide with. I’m not sure how well that song would’ve done as a single from Jake but I love the lyrics and it’s haunting sound. Kenny probably would’ve made it a surefire #1.

  22. Bobby
    June 14, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Playing the flip side — songs that should NOT be covered — I don’t think ANYone else than George Jones could do “He Stopped Loving Her Today” justice. Actually, the same could go for a lot of George Jones songs.

  23. DJ
    June 15, 2009 at 7:36 am

    I heard Jamey Johnson sing “Outlaw Women” in Renfro, KY and he killed it…an amazing performance. He can sing any Hank Jr. song with the best of them.

  24. David S
    June 15, 2009 at 7:54 am

    I don’t think “I May Hate Myself In the Morning” could ever be touched by anyone other than Lee Ann Womack.

  25. Jammin' Jamey
    June 15, 2009 at 11:42 am

    The version I enjoy best of “Making Memories of Us” would be the songwriter’s – Rodney Crowell. You can find it on the Notorious Cherrybombs project that came out just before Keith Urban turned the song into a #1.

  26. Leeann Ward
    June 15, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Absolutely, Jammin’ Jamey!

  27. Josh Preister
    June 15, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I love Montgomery Gentry’s “Some People Change” and when I went to find it on iTunes discovered Kenny Chesney had originally recorded it. Prefer Montgomery Gentry’s version for sure.

  28. Bobby
    June 15, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    I agree, MG’s version of that song is better. Kenny doesn’t have the voice for issue songs (although I think he nailed “That’s Why I’m Here”, but that was back when his voice was a lot different).

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