Music

Country Rewind: Toby Keith's Other 9/11 Reaction Song, 'My List'

It's impossible to separate Toby Keith's early century impact on country music from his 9/11 reaction song "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)."

Yet despite "The Angry American's" good intentions, some prefer Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," a simple man's honest reaction to the headlines of the time, over the Statue of Liberty shaking her fist. But what if we told you that an earlier reaction song by Keith, "My List," became an equally tender tribute to the New York City firefighters who put it all on the line that fateful day?

"My List," the third and final single off Keith's 2001 album Pull My Chain, predates "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)." Its music video tells the story of a firefighter whose list of things to do each day includes "start livin'," presumably in reaction to recent headlines.

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The Tim James and Rand Bishop co-write topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for five weeks. It also gained some crossover traction, reaching No. 26 on the all-genre Billboard Top 100. Yet for whatever reason, it's a less obvious reaction to 9/11 than the hit that followed. Nor does it have the notoriety of prior hit "I Wanna Talk About Me." Which is a shame, because no one should base their opinion on Keith on just one or two songs from any span in his career.

"My List" Lyrics

Under an old brass paperweight is my list of things to do today
Go to the bank and the hardware store, put a new lock on the cellar door
I cross 'em off as I get 'em done but when the sun is set
There's still more than a few things left I haven't got to yet

Go for a walk, say a little prayer
Take a deep breath of mountain air
Put on my glove and play some catch
It's time that I make time for that
Wade the shore and cast a line
Look up a long lost friend of mine
Sit on the porch and give my girl a kiss
Start livin', that's the next thing on my list

Wouldn't change the course of fate but cuttin' the grass just had to wait
Cause I've got more important things like pushin' my kid on the backyard swing
I won't break my back for a million bucks I can't take to my grave
So why put off for tomorrow what I could get done today

Like go for a walk, say a little prayer
Take a deep breath of mountain air
Put on my glove and play some catch
It's time that I make time for that
Wade the shore and cast a line
Look up a long lost friend of mine
Sit on the porch and give my girl a kiss
Start livin', that's the next thing on my list

Raise a little hell, laugh 'til it hurts
Put an extra five in the plate at church
Call up my folks just to chat
It's time that I make time for that
Stay up late, then oversleep
Show her what she means to me
Catch up on all the things I've always missed
Just start livin', that's the next thing on my list

Under an old brass paperweight
Is my list of things to do today

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Country Rewind: Toby Keith's Other 9/11 Reaction Song, 'My List'