On This Day: Martina McBride’s ‘A Broken Wing’ Goes No. 1 in 1998

by Katie Maloney

Twenty-three years ago today Martina McBride’s single, “A Broken Wing,” soared to the number one spot on the charts.

The song is about a woman choosing to leave an emotionally abusive relationship. McBride sings, “She’d tell him ’bout her dreams. He’d just shoot ’em down. Lord he loved to make her cry. You’re crazy for believin’ you’ll ever leave the ground, he said, only angels know how to fly.” However, the woman choose to leave the relationship and McBride sings, “And with a broken wing she still sings. She keeps an eye over the sky. With a broken wing, she carries her dreams. Man, you oughta see her fly.”

The song was her second number one hit and came from her multi-platinum-selling album, Evolution. McBride was nominated for Single of the Year at the CMA Awards. Additionally, McBride won Female Vocalist of the Year at the CMAs in 1999.

Martina McBride’s “A Broken Wing”

Martina McBride Is An Icon For Domestic Abuse Survivors

“A Broken Wing” isn’t McBride’s first song about the effects of an abusive relationship. McBride also released “Independence Day” in 1993.

The song is about a woman who was married to an abusive alcoholic. She eventually decides to burn their house down and escape the relationship. McBride sings, “Well, she lit up the sky that fourth of July. By the time that the firemen come they just put out the flames and took down some names…Now I ain’t sayin’ it’s right or it’s wrong but maybe it’s the only way. Talk about your revolution. It’s Independence Day.”

Since releasing those songs, McBride has become an advocate for organizations including, the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Network to End Domestic Violence. She even started her own nonprofit organization, Team Music Is Love, which allows McBride and her fans to partner together on fundraising and volunteer projects. This truly proves the power that music has to connect people and change lives.