‘Timber, I’m Falling in Love’ by Patty Loveless: How Singer’s First No. 1 Hit Came to Life

by Jennifer Shea
timber-im-falling-in-love-patty-loveless-how-singers-first-no-1-hit-came-life

“Timber, I’m Falling in Love” may seem like a surprising hit for someone named Patty Loveless, but the song turned out to be perfect for the country singer

Patty Loveless Finds A Hit

Kostas Lazarides wrote the song. Loveless released it in May 1989 as the third single off her album Honky Tonk Angel. It went on to hit the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart in August 1989.

In an interview with Bart Herbison of Nashville Songwriters Association International for the Tennessean, Lazarides – who goes by Kostas – explained that his dog, Sonny, guided him to write the song. 

“I wrote it with my dog, Sonny,” Kostas insisted to a disbelieving Herbison. “Sonny wrote the lyrics.”

That’s an unlikely story, for sure. So how did it come about?

“I wrote it up in Montana one morning when I went to get my hair cut,” Kostas explained. “I tied the dog up outside, had two bucks left in my pocket, went to this barber college because I couldn’t afford a regular haircut.”

“When I got done with my haircut, I go outside and I had him tied to a horse post out there, which they still got out right in front of the college there,” he went on. “I grabbed him, and we are going back home and I had this idea in my head. That’s when I started writing it. And, of course, (I’m) talking to the dog as I go along, you know. ‘OK, Sonny, what do you think?’ You know, ‘Da, da, da, da, I’m falling in love. OK, that’s it.’”

His dog was his inspiration. Perhaps the tempo did it. Perhaps the melody won him over. Either way, Sonny knew a hit when he heard it. 

Hearing the Song Was a Thrill

“You know, a dog’s tail never lies,” Kostas added. “We had a hit on our hands. So I wrote the song, sent it down here to demo it. Tony (Brown, producer) loved it for Patty. He played it for Patty and she loved it. They went in and they cut it. They did such a wonderful rendering of that (song).”

Kostas said he was “absolutely thrilled” when he first heard Loveless sing the song. He said she’s got a certain quality to her.

The song strikes a delicate balance – it’s saccharine, but not too hokey – that fit well with Loveless’ style.

“Timber” was Kostas’ first big hit, too. And when it came on the radio, he said he both laughed and teared up at the same time.

Outsider.com