Tracy Lawrence topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” on June 23, 2007. It was the first time in more than a decade that Tracy had scored a chart-topper.
In fact, “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” is an interesting song for a number of reasons: Dueling versions of the tune on radio. A cease-and-desist letter from Sony. Star-packed video. Tracy’s last No. 1 single.
Let’s dig in.
With his distinctive baritone, Texas native Tracy Lawrence was a force on the country charts in the 1990s. From 1991 to 1996, Tracy topped the charts with seven No. 1 hits, including “Sticks and Stones,” “My Second Home,” “Texas Tornado,” and “Time Marches On,” among others. However, the 2000s weren’t as kind to Tracy, who struggled to match his earlier success, with the exception of 2003’s “Paint Me a Birmingham” (No. 3).
Now, here’s where things get a bit confusing. In August 2006, Tracy released a new single, “Find Out Who Your Friends Are.” Penned by Casey Beathard and Ed Hill, the tune served as the lead single to Tracy’s ninth studio album, For the Love, which dropped in January 2007.
By the time the album was released, “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” had barely cracked the Top 40. However, For the Love included a second version of “Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” which featured vocals from two of Tracy’s friends—and two of country music’s biggest stars—Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney.
Radio stations began to spin the Tracy/Tim/Kenny version of the song, even though it wasn’t officially released as a single. Both versions of the tune were “counted” as one song when the radio charts were tabulated. In June 2007, Sony (the parent label of Chesney) sent radio stations a cease-and-desist order, since it never authorized the official release of the version that featured Kenny. Nonetheless, radio stations continued to spin the alternate version.
Tracy Peaks Again
On June 23, 2007, after a then-record 41-week climb, “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The single marked Tracy’s first No. 1 in more than a decade, since 1996’s “Time Marches On.”
After the tune peaked at No. 1, Tracy dropped a video for the song in August 2007.
“We were not going to do a video,” said Tracy to Country Weekly in 2007. “But we felt like this would be a great opportunity to capitalize on the success of the song. Plus, I hadn’t had visibility in a video for quite some time, so we thought it was important to reconnect with the fans.”
For the new video, Tracy enlisted a little help from his close friends—the great George Jones, Darryl Worley, and MLB pitcher Roy Oswalt—to film the clip in Enterprise, Alabama.
In November 2007, “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” won the CMA Award for Musical Event of the Year.