On This Date: Carrie Underwood Releases “Before He Cheats,” And I’ve Wanted To Knock A Headlight Out Ever Since

A woman wearing sunglasses

Ever since this day in 2006, I’ve hoped there would come a time that I could take a “Louisville slugger to both headlights,” just like Carrie Underwood.

Luckily, though, I haven’t quite found myself in a situation where that’s been warranted, but I’d be lying if I said the thought hasn’t at least crossed my mind a time or two.

That’s probably a story for another post, though, and I digress…

On this date in 2006, Carrie released her 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 mean, I still think this is one of the best opening verses of any country song in the last fifteen years… it’s so perfectly mean and so damn country:

“Right now, he’s probably slow dancin’With a bleached-blond tramp and she’s probably gettin’ friskyRight now, he’s probably buyin’ her some fruity little drink‘Cause she can’t shoot whiskey”

I remember hearing it on the radio constantly when it came out 16 years ago now, and 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 whiskey straight…

Though now I have to admit that I do take it a little to heart when Carrie refers to her as a “a bleached-blond tramp”:

The song only catapulted Carrie further into the world of elite mainstream artists in country music, and she’s become a household name in the genre ever since.

The iconic YouTube video, which now has over 150 MILLION views, is also a fun trip down memory lane to watch today.

And, I even found a great piece of advice down in the comments in case it ever comes in handy for you:

“Tip, ladies: don’t slash all four tires. Insurance pays for that. Just slash three, and he’ll have to pay for them himself.”

Ladies… pour one out for Carrie tonight, and always remember to save a little trouble for the next girl if need be:

“Before He Cheats”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock