Carrie Underwood’s ‘Last Name’: Story Behind the Song Inspired by a Guy She Met at the Oscars

by Emily Morgan

Carrie Underwood released the song “Last Name” as the third single from her second studio album, Carnival Ride.

After its release in 2008, the song hit No. 1 on the “Billboard Hot Country Songs” chart and even won a Grammy, a People’s Choice Award, and a BMI Award.

Co-written by Luke Laird, Hillary Lindsey, and Underwood, they penned the song together in January of 2007. 

“My manager, Chris Oglesby, set up the co-write with Carrie, Hillary Lindsey and myself. Hillary is one of my best friends, so we had written many songs together,” Laird said about working on the song. 

“The three of us had already written one song that day. Then Carrie was telling us about meeting some guy at a post-Oscar party. The guy got her number, but when he called her, she realized she didn’t even know his last name. He called her a couple of times, but she said it was past the point of her asking him his last name.”

Carrie Underwood’s ‘Before He Cheats’ Prequal

As the song goes, the narrator describes a woman who met a man at a club and later eloped with him in Las Vegas after having had too much to drink.

The next morning when she wakes up, “thinkin’ ’bout Elvis somewhere in Vegas,” she discovers that she does not even know her new last name and worries that her “mama would be so ashamed.”

In the music video, fans will see a nod to her other hit “Before He Cheats” song, even going so far as to hire the same actor to play the man in question.

“Anyway, when Carrie told us that story, we all just ran with “last name and came up with a fun storyline. Very fun day! We laughed a lot,” Laird added. 

Laird also added that they wrote the song only two days after penning another Underwood hit, “So Small.”

She performed the song live for the first time on television during the 43rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on May 18, 2008. She also performed it during the seventh season finale of “American Idol” on May 21, 2008. Later, in 2009, she performed the song at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards.