Music

'John Deere Green': The Story Behind the Sweet Country Love Song

Musician Joe Diffie attends the 289th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on May 11 1993 at Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

When looking back on '90s country music, a few country songs come to mind: "Friends In Low Places" by Garth Brooks, "Should've Been A Cowboy" by Toby Keith, "She's In Love With A Boy" by Trisha Yearwood and "John Deere Green" by Joe Diffie, to name a few.

So, how did Joe Diffie's ode to small town romance come about?

The Story Behind 'John Deere Green'

"John Deere Green" was written by Dennis Linde and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart when Diffie released it in 1993.

The upbeat love song matches the formula for a perfect country song: teenage rebellion, farm equipment, love and a small southern town water tower. Billy Bob climbs to the top of the water tower late one summer night to spraypaint "Billy Bob loves Charlene" in the famous John Deere tractor color. His proclamation stands the test of time and makes it a night to remember in their relationship.

Read More: The 10 Best Joe Diffie Songs, Ranked

Diffie passed away on March 21, 2019, due to complications with the COVID-19 virus. Posthumously, three of his greatest hits resurfaced on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. "Pickup Man," "Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)," and "John Deere Green" all shot back to the top of the charts and some even out preformed their original position.

The classic song has since been covered by American Aquarium.

Diffie is also known for his songs "If The Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)," "Is It Cold In Here," and "Third Rock From the Sun."

'John Deere Green' Lyrics:

They were farm kids way down in Dixie
They met in high school in the sixties
Everyone knew it was love from the start
One July in the midnight hour
They climbed up on the water tower
Stood on the rail and painted a ten-foot heart

In John Deere green, on a hot summer night
He wrote "Billy Bob loves Charlene" in letters three foot high
And the whole town said that he should've used red
But it looked good to Charlene
In John Deere green

They settled down on eighty acres
Raising sweet corn, kids, and tomatoes
They went together like a hand and a glove
On a clear day, from their front yard
If you look and know what to look for
Off to the east, you can still read his words of love

In John Deere green, on a hot summer night
He wrote "Billy Bob loves Charlene" in letters three foot high
And the whole town said the boy should've used red
But it looked good to Charlene
In John Deere green

Now more than once the town has discovered
Painting over it ain't no use
There ain't no paint in the world that'll cover it
The heart keeps showing through
In John Deere green, on a hot summer night
He wrote "Billy Bob loves Charlene" in letters three foot high
And the whole town said the fool should've used red
But it looked good to Charlene
In John Deere green

Ah, paint it green boy

In John Deere green, on a hot summer night
He wrote "Billy Bob loves Charlene" in letters three foot high
And the whole town said the boy should've used red
But it looked good to Charlene

 

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'John Deere Green': The Story Behind the Sweet Country Love Song