In October of 1996, country artist Alan Jackson released his song “Little Bitty.”
It was his leading single for his fifth album, “Everything I Love.” For us here at Outsider, it includes all the ideals we’ve grown to love. The story talks about the importance of living in the moment and enjoying the small, yet satisfying parts of life.
While life may be full of a collection of “Little Bitty” moments, every simple moment and experience has meaning.
Other people seemed to agree since the song was a No. 1 hit. It reached the top of the U.S. Billboard country charts in December of 1996. It was Jackson’s 14th No. 1 hit during his career.
The song was written by popular songwriter Tom T. Hall. At the time of writing this song and others he had claimed he was “retired.” However, he couldn’t pass out the simple joy in writing a new song.
Tom T. Hall Explains Alan Jackson Song
During his career Hall wrote 12 No. 1 hits and 26 others that reached the Top 10. Some of these include “Harper Valley PTA,” “I Love,” “Homecoming,” and “Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine.”
He is known as “The Storyteller” and has created music for popular icons like Johnny Cash, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, Alan Jackson, and Bobby Bare.
Hall is famous for writing strong narrative-driven songs with a lot of detail. They also included insight into normal everyday life. He is a part of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
In a 2005 interview with CMT, Hall talked about the inspiration behind “Little Bitty” and some of his other infamous songs.
As for the Alan Jackson hit it all started on a trip to Australia. He describes going for a walk one day and ending up in the country. He comes across a typical suburban-style house that is what he considers is the “American Dream.”
“I thought, ‘I’m in Australia, and here’s the great American dream.’ The house with a picket fence, the dog, the flowers. It was almost like a painting. I said, ‘This is universal, this notion of having a contained domestic situation,'” Hall said.
He then started walking back and thought to himself, “So, it’s alright to be little bitty.”
From there he started writing the song right away. He ended up in a coffee shop as soon as they opened. While ordering coffee he asked the waitress if she had ever heard the phrase “little bitty.” She said that she did in fact know it meant something small or very tiny.
Cynical or Happy?
After realizing the term was universal to some extent, he decided to finish the song but got stumped on the last verse. After sitting in a drawer for years, he ended up just ending the song the same way it starts.
“It’s a cyclical song. I wrote the last verse at the bottom of the typed page. I demoed it and put it on my little album … Then Alan Jackson heard it. I’m glad I never emptied my briefcase into a wastebasket. It’s a dangerous business, what you throw away,” Hall said.
Although the song is about enjoying the silence, beer, and a dream, Hall also describes it as cynical.
What is absolutely for certain about the song is that the phrase “little bitty” appears 23 times. It also is for many people a reminder that striving for the little things can be a big thing all on its own.