On This Day: Tim McGraw Releases Hit ‘Live Like You Were Dying’ in 2004

by Katie Maloney
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Seventeen years ago, Tim McGraw released his number one hit song, “Live Like You Were Dying.”

Tim McGraw is no stranger to the top spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. In fact, McGraw has 26 number one hit songs. And, perhaps, one of his greatest hit songs is the title track and lead single from his eighth studio album, “Live Like You Were Dying.”

The song is about a man in his forties who discovers that he has terminal cancer. As he tells his story, he reveals all the ways he fully lived his life after the diagnosis. During the song, McGraw sings, “I went skydiving. I went Rocky Mountain climbing. And I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu. 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.'”

The song quickly soared to the top of the charts where it stayed for seven weeks. “Live Like You Were Dying” is still a fan favorite and a beautiful reminder to love deeply and cherish the life you have.

Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying”

What’s the Story Behind Tim McGraw’s Song?

Undoubtedly, people connected to Tim McGraw’s hit song, “Live Like You Were Dying.” And it makes sense why. So many people have faced, or know someone who has faced finding out that they had less time on this Earth than they expected. In fact, the song is based on a real-life experience.

Songwriters Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman penned the song. Nichols has also written songs for Faith Hill and Alan Jackson. During an interview in 2014, the writers shared that “Live Like You Were Dying” was inspired by one of their mutual friends who had been misdiagnosed with cancer and thought he was dying.

“We just started talking about people who responded in that type of way. ‘Wow, it’s time to get busy,’ as opposed to, ‘I’m going to go lay down in my bed and freak out,'” said Wiseman. “And our talks just turned in that direction of people that just sort of respond to that news in a really cool way. And at some point, we knew there was a song there, like ‘dying to live.’ I think I mumbled, ‘live like you were dying,’ and Tim said, ‘Yeah, that!'”

Tim McGraw has his own connection to the song. His father, Tug McGraw, was hospitalized with a brain tumor in 2003. He was diagnosed with cancer and he passed away a year later in 2004.

In conclusion, Tim McGraw is here to remind everyone to hold the people they love a little tighter today, and maybe dive into a dream you’ve been putting off for too long.

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