On this day in 2006, country superstar Carrie Underwood released her iconic track “Before He Cheats” from her debut studio album, Some Hearts.
Although the legendary single is widely known as one of Underwood’s signature tracks, the song wasn’t originally written with the “Jesus Take The Wheel” singer in mind.
Written by Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear, “Before He Cheats” was originally composed for Grammy winning performer Gretchen Wilson. In an interview with Bart Herbison of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, Tompkins and Kear explained the history behind the single.
“It didn’t start off as a song for Carrie. It basically started off as a song for Gretchen Wilson. I went to a computer and was just typing what I wanted to be edgy lyrics. After the success of ‘Redneck Woman’ everyone wanted to get on the next (Gretchen) record. I typed up part of that verse and thought I had something kind of cool. From that point, I called Josh,” Tompkins explained.
Their plans shifted after Tompkins received a call informing the two songwriters that Underwood wanted to cut the song.
“Well, obviously, the Gretchen thing had passed. We were told that the first time Carrie heard this song, it was during the American Idol tour and it was in the back of the plane as they were getting ready to fly from one location of that tour, to the next. Somebody on the label had come up, played her the demo,” Kear added. “She listened to it once and said, ‘I’m cutting that song.’ There was no discussion of putting it on hold or just letting us know they would sit with it. It was just one listen and knowing she would record it.”
Good thing Underwood snagged the track while she could, as it reached groundbreaking success on the charts. The single topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart where it spent five consecutive weeks, reached the top five on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts, peaked in the top ten on the the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Contemporary charts and spent 64 consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Click above to re-live Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.”