1999 was a good year for country superstar Tim McGraw. Although, by that time, McGraw was no stranger to a number one hit song or a number one album. Just five years prior, McGraw released the best-selling country album of 1994 with Not a Moment too Soon. A year later, in 1995, McGraw released his third studio album which debuted at number one. In 1997 McGraw released Everywhere. The album topped the country charts and reached number two on the Billboard 200.
But it wasn’t until Tim McGraw released his fifth studio album, A Place in the Sun, in 1999 that his place in country music history was truly solidified. Upon its debut, the album topped both the country and pop charts. McGraw sold over 251,000 copies of the album during its first week which made A Place in the Sun McGraw’s first number one opener on the Billboard 200. Additionally, all four of the singles released from the album reached number one on the charts. “Please Remember Me”, “My Best Friend”, and “My Next Thirty Years” were all chart-topping singles. However, one of the most memorable number one hit singles from the album is “Something Like That.”
The song is about never forgetting your first love. During the song, McGraw sings about meeting his first love as a teenager. He vividly remembers the day right down to what he and his love were wearing. Unfortunately, first loves rarely last and the two move on with their lives. But five years later they run into each other on a plane and both reveal that they’ve never forgotten each other. McGraw sings, “I had a barbecue stain on my white t-shirt. She was killing me in that miniskirt. Skippin’ rocks on the river by the railroad tracks. She had a suntan line and red lipstick. I worked so hard for that first kiss. And a heart don’t forget something like that.”
Not only was Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That” a number one hit song for five weeks on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart. But it was also the most played song of the decade according to Nielson BDS. Across all radio formats, the song garnered 487,343 plays from January 1, 2000, through December 17, 2009.
What’s the Story Behind Tim McGraw’s ‘Something Like That’?
The feelings behind Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That” are far too real to be…well, not real. So, what’s the deal? Is the song based on a real-life love story? The answer is yes (yay!). Songwriters Rick Ferrell and Keith Follesé penned the song. Apparently, Ferrell came up with the idea for the song two years before he teamed up with Follesé to write it. During an interview, Ferrell revealed that the song was inspired by his times at county fairs in his home state of Ohio.
“Where I grew up, our biggest thing was the county fair,” he said. “That’s the only concerts I’d ever been to before I came to Nashville. I saw everybody at our fair.”
Ferrell added that he started writing about small details he observed and experienced at the fairs. But it wasn’t until he teamed up with Follesé that the song really took off.
“I just kept fooling with the ‘barbecue stain’ and ‘suntan lines’ and all that. I was going every which way,” said Ferrell. “And then I got with Keith Follesé and we pounded it out on this little piano melody that I had, and he took it and made it sound good, and the rest is history from there.”
But what about the romance, Rick Ferrell?! He didn’t go into details about the lady who inspired the song. Nevertheless, decades after its release, we’re still just as in love with “Something Like That” as we were the first time we heard the tune.