Carrie Underwood may be America’s sweetheart, but she knows how to sing a cheatin’ song, too.
On this date in 2006, she released the monster hit “Before He Cheats” from her debut studio album Some Hearts. It would go on to become a massive crossover hit and a #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for five straight weeks, and even a top ten hit on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 charts.
Written by Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins, it actually started out as a song for Gretchen Wilson, but ultimately, that didn’t work out.
According to Josh, Carrie was on the American Idol tour at the time the song was written, and somebody from her label played the demo for her while on the back of a plane waiting to takeoff to the next tour stop:
“She listened to it once and said, ‘I’m cutting that song.’ There was no discussion of putting it on hold or just letting us know they would sit with it.
It was just one listen and knowing she would record it.”
It was the third single from Some Hearts, which also included three other #1 singles in “Jesus, Take the Wheel”, “Don’t Forget to Remember Me” and “Wasted”.
This track was a huge departure from her “good girl” image in country music, but Carrie admits it payed off big-time in the long run:
“I was a little nervous about just the content and kind of the aggressive nature of the song, because I was on ‘American Idol’ and like I am kind of a… I am a nice person.
And I was thinking about all the grandmothers that sat there and voted for me on ‘American Idol’ and like, ‘What are they going to think?’ We took a chance and it opened up so many doors for me, just to be strong and sassy.”
I remember hearing this song constantly back when it came out 15 years ago now. Me and my friends would legitimately scream it at the top of our lungs (as if any of us had ever had our heart’s broken or been cheated on before).
I was older than 8 at the time, but definitely not old enough to drink, and I clearly remember thinking that the other girl in the song was a little bitch for not being able to shoot the whiskey straight:
Carrie Underwood: “he's probably buying her some fruity little drink 'cause she can't shoot whiskey”