Alabama native Aimee Mayo moved to Nashville in the early ’90s to pursue songwriting. Smart move.
Over the last quarter-century, Aimee has churned out some of Music City’s biggest hits, including Lonestar’s “Amazed,” Martina McBride’s “This One’s for the Girls,” Blake Shelton’s “Every Time I Hear That Song,” Tim McGraw’s “My Best Friend,” and more.
In fact, songwriting is a Mayo family affair. Her father, Danny “Bear” Mayo wrote Alabama’s “If I Had You” and Tracy Byrd’s “The Keeper of the Stars,” among others, while her brother, Cory, penned George Strait’s “You’ll Be There.” Unsurprisingly, Aimee married a songwriter—Chris Lindsey, who we profiled last week.
In between cranking out hits, Aimee recently wrote her first book, Talking to the Sky.
Outsider caught up to Aimee to find out the 5 Songs That Shaped the Songwriter.
1. ‘Silly Love Songs’ – Wings (written by Paul & Linda McCartney)
Aimee Mayo: My first favorite song was “Silly Love Songs” by Paul McCartney. I was five when it came out. I loved the clunks, whistles, and clinks of the factory sounds in the intro—I still don’t know what that’s about. But I still feel like a kid when I hear the cheerful, happy feeling of the song. And, I still love singing along to the “I love you” and the “doot-doot-do doot-a-loot-la-loo” hooky horn section.
2. ‘Fire & Rain’ – James Taylor
Aimee Mayo: If I were forced to pick a favorite song, it would probably be “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor. The lyric “I’ve seen sunny days I thought would never end, I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend” still blows me away. It is so simple but so profound.
3. ‘Slip Slidin’ Away’ – Paul Simon
Aimee Mayo: “Slip Slidin’ Away,” “America,” “The Sound of Silence.” Okay, this one is super hard to pick. Paul Simon is my favorite songwriter ever. He is my biggest singular influence. “Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War” is the longest title I have ever heard, and that is exactly what I love about Paul Simon. He follows his muse wherever it goes. And it usually wanders toward magic.
4. ‘Lyin’ Eyes’ – The Eagles (written by Don Henley & Glenn Frey)
Aimee Mayo: I remember lying on my bedroom floor in the seventh grade with a jambox and writing out the lyrics to “Lyin’ Eyes” by The Eagles. I love the story. The lyric opens with “City girls just find out early, How to open doors with just a smile, A rich old man and she won’t have to worry, She’ll dress up in lace and go in style,” but then the twist in the second verse . . . “On the other side of town, A boy is waiting, With fiery eyes and dreams no one could steal, She drives on through the night, anticipating, ’Cause he makes her feel the way she used to feel.” It’s poetry with a killer story and a singalong chorus.
5. ‘Jessie’s Girl’ – Rick Springfield
Aimee Mayo: I still turn 13 every time I hear it. I’ve got so many emotions tied up in that song that it makes me feel crazy. I have a whole chapter on Rick Springfield in my memoir.