Music

'Something Like That': The Story Behind Tim McGraw's Nostalgic Ode to Summer Love

Robb D. Cohen/Invision/AP

When thinking of classic Tim McGraw songs, it's impossible to forget his 1999 hit "Something Like That" from his album, A Place In The Sun. This single, which some call the "BBQ Stain Song," brought McGraw into the new millennium with a song that has since become one of his greatest hits and an iconic one in country music. "Something Like That" is a nostalgic tune about the unforgettable moments one has with their first love. This particular love story finds McGraw reminiscing on his 17-year-old self, who saw his love interest for the first time in the ticket line at the county fair on labor day weekend. After describing the setting of their meeting in the first verse, McGraw launches into the famous chorus, which describes their whirlwind romance with relatable visuals.

 

"I had a barbecue stain on my white t-shirt / She was killing me in that miniskirt / Skippin' rocks on the river by the railroad tracks / She had a suntan line and red lipstick / I worked so hard for that first kiss, and a heart don't forget something like that," he sings.

In the second verse, the song fast forwards five years when McGraw runs into his old love interest at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The woman comes up to him and says, "I bet you don't remember me," to which McGraw responds, "Only every other memory." He then launches into the chorus again, remembering those precious, but fleeting moments with her. In the bridge, he sings about how memories of one's first love stay forever.

"Like an old photograph time can make a feeling fade / But the memory of a first love never fades away," he sings.

This nostalgic, bittersweet theme certainly resonated with country fans, as the tune shot to the top of the Billboard Country chart and stayed there for five weeks. It also landed at No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100, and according to Nielson BDS, the song was the most-played radio single of any genre during the first decade of the 2000s.

Read More: The 10 Best Tim McGraw Videos

This hit country song continues to be played on country radio to this day, but as it turns out, the song was almost entirely skipped over as a single. The tune was written by Rick Ferrell and Keith Follesé, and according to Ferrell, McGraw had to persuade his record label at the time, Curb Records, to have the song released to radio.

"Tim kind of forced their hand on it," said Ferrell in an interview on his YouTube channel. "I don't know, in the record label's mind at the time, if it was even going to be a single. Tim went on an awards show, I can't remember which one it was, and I remember Faith [Hill] coming out and saying, 'Tim has a surprise for everybody.' And Tim comes out and plays the song."

Ferrell also revealed that he came up with the song idea two years before he wrote it with Follesé, and the tune was inspired by his real-life experiences of going county fairs in his home state of Ohio.

"Where I grew up, our biggest thing was the county fair," he said. "That's the only concerts I'd ever been to before I came to Nashville. I saw everybody at our fair."

When Ferrell started writing the song, he says it took on a few different forms before he got together with Follesé and they created what fans hear today.

"I just kept fooling with the 'barbecue stain' and 'suntan lines' and all that. I was going every which way," he says. "And then I got with Keith Follesé and we pounded it out on this little piano melody that I had, and he took it and made it sound good, and the rest is history from there."

"Something Like That" kicked off a successful decade of music for McGraw, which included hits like "My Best Friend," "My Next Thirty Years," "The Cowboy In Me," "Live Like You Were Dying," and many more.

 


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'Something Like That': The Story Behind Tim McGraw's Nostalgic Ode to Summer Love