Reba McEntire’s ‘You Never Gave Up on Me’: How the Moving Song Left Her Mom in Tears

by Jacklyn Krol

Reba McEntire’s “You Never Gave Up On Me” holds a special place in her heart.

McEntire was originally going to put this song on her 2017 gospel album, Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope. But when it didn’t make the cut, she rediscovered the song while recording her 2019 record, Stronger Than The Truth. She believed that her mother, Jacqueline “Jackie” McEntire would love the song and added it to the album.

“That’s a great song for mama,” she said. “Because who besides God has never given up on me? Mama.”

The song was recorded in just one take. Her producer, Buddy Cannon, was ready to record another take when she told him that she didn’t think she could.

“I sent it to Susie [her sister] and Mark to play for Mama on Christmas Eve there in Oklahoma. I was here in Tennessee,” Reba McEntire recalled. “And she sat there and listened to it. I sent the lyrics and everything so she heard every word and she cried. She was very appreciative. She loved it.”

Reba McEntire and Her Mother’s Relationship

Reba McEntire and her mother were extremely close. McEntire credits her mother for giving her a sense of punctuality.

“My mama taught me responsibility, love, trust, loyalty and to hold yourself accountable for what you say you will do,” she said.

Reba McEntire believes that her parents kept her grounded with fame and helped her seek high standards.

“My mama’s a little spitfire,” McEntire shared. “There are about 50 things that I can hear her saying in my mind, but the number one thing is, ‘I love you gobs and gobs.'”

Jackie lost her battle with cancer at 93 on March 14, 2020. The family held a small private service due to COVID-19.

“Our Mother, Jacqueline McEntire, made that wonderful cross over into Heaven today,” Reba McEntire wrote at the time. “She had a wonderful, full, healthy life and was absolutely ready to go. The cancer might think it won the battle but we’re giving God all the credit on selecting the time for her to go home to Him. She was ready to see our Daddy, her mama and daddy and all her family and friends.”

Along with Jackie, Reba McEntire was close with her mother’s mama, Reba Smith. Her grandmother was the person that originally inspired her to go to church. She also taught her to lead by example.

“Grandma Reba taught me about the love of Jesus. To me, that’s the most important thing she could’ve ever taught me,” she concluded.