LeAnn Rimes’ ‘How Do I Live’: Story Behind the 90s Hit Song

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Steve Jennings/WireImage

The year 1997 has come and gone. But, how did two top country artists LeAnn Rimes and Trisha Yearwood live through the awkwardness?

It all had to do with the song “How Do I Live.”

LeAnn Rimes Versus Trisha Yearwood

In 1997, the movie “Con Air” was released. The film is an American thriller directed by Simon West. It stars Nicholas Cage, John Cusack, and John Malkovich.

The story focuses on Cage’s character, who is a former U.S. Ranger and an ex-con on patrol, who ends up trapped on a prisoner transport plane when the passengers seize control. Chaos and violence ensued in the box office hit.

When the film was getting its final touches, executives decided to include the song “How Do I Live.” The song was written by Diane Warren but still needed a singer.

Breaking Promises and Making History

From this point, it became a complicated web of broken promises and double the talent. Rimes recorded her version since Warren apparently promised her the song. However, they decided she was too young (only 14 at the time) so they approached Yearwood instead.

Some claim that the lyrics were just too “adult” for such a young singer.

“Without you, there’d be no sun in my sky / There would be no love in my life /There’d be no world left for me.”

According to Wide Open Country, Rimes record label had already started working on the song before the switch happened. Yearwood knew about her working on the song. Yet, somehow, they both managed to release their song on the same day, May 27, 1997.

The two broke history together when the same song, but performed by two different artists, was nominated for a Grammy.

Rimes performed the song in front of the audience, but directly after Yearwood won the Best Country Female Vocal Performance award. However, LeAnn’s version spent 69 weeks on Billboard Hot 100.

While the song was all the drama for the two independent artists, it was well worth it for both of them. It would even go on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. It lost to “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic” … obviously. Rimes was successful in the pop world, Yearwood in the country world.

Bad Blood?

With both of the artist battling over a Grammy and trying to top the charts, was there any hard feelings?

According to a Chicago Tribune article, the two never really had hard feelings for one another. Yearwood explained that it is an unspoken rule in Nashville that if someone has a song on hold you’re not supposed to mess with it. She was surprised to hear Rimes version when she was in Europe on the radio.

“I would not have chosen to go up against LeAnn Rimes,” Yearwood said in reference to the battle for best song adaptation.

However, it became a lot more than just two covers of a song playing at the same time on the radio. Different radio stations were asking fans to call in and vote for their favorite version. This made both artists uncomfortable.

Rimes told press she felt betrayed by “people in the business” for the whole situation.

Clearly, both artists have moved on from the situation. They have both since performed the song in a “reimagined” way.