HomeEntertainmentMusicTim McGraw Details Emotional Story of Recording ‘Live Like You Were Dying’ to Matthew McConaughey After Father Passed Away

Tim McGraw Details Emotional Story of Recording ‘Live Like You Were Dying’ to Matthew McConaughey After Father Passed Away

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Country legend Tim McGraw is getting personal about one of his singles “Live Like You Were Dying.” The singer chatted with Matthew McConaughey on his Beyond the Influence Radio With Tim McGraw podcast about the emotional story behind the hit single.

Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” made its debut in June 2014. The song tells the story of a man who received the news that his father had an undisclosed life-threatening illness. After finding out the news, his father’s key message to his son was to live life to the fullest and do things that he always wanted to do.

The song’s chorus reads, “I went I went skydiving/ I went Rocky Mountain climbing/ I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu/ And I loved deeper/ And I spoke sweeter/ And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying/ And he said Someday I hope you get the chance/ To live like you were dying.”

McGraw’s hit song reached No. 1 on the charts by July 2004 and was certified Platinum by the RIAA in December 2009. It won various awards, including Song of the Year at the 2004 CMAs and 2004 Academy of Country Music Awards. Over 2.3 million copies of the song have been sold in the U.S. as of July 2016.

Tim McGraw’s Story Behind “Live Like You Were Dying”

During the chat with McConaughey, Tim McGraw reveals the song was written at the same time that his father was battling brain cancer in 2003. The singer admits he almost didn’t record the song because he didn’t want fans to think he was trying to maniple the situation by trying to garnish sympathy. 

McGraw recalls, “I had been listening to ‘Live Like You Were Dying,’ the demo, and knowing I was going to record it. I never played it for him because I just didn’t… I just felt like it wasn’t the right thing to do. Tim also admits, “I almost didn’t record the song. I certainly didn’t want anyone to think that I was playing to what was going with my father.” 

After his father passed away, Tim says he decided to go ahead and record the song. He says it felt like it was “the right thing to do” and as a way to honor his dad. McGraw shares his dad would have loved knowing the song was about him and his experience. “I’m sure that he would love [that song].”

 Tim McGraw shares that he, his band, and Uncle Hank were at the recording session. At 3 in the morning, he decides it was time to record. McGraw went on to add, “We spent the next three hours up until sun up recording this song. My uncle collapsed on a couch crying every time we did a pass on it.”