About the Song
1998 no. 1 country music hit, “Wide Open Spaces” was recorded by American country music group and Texan native Dixie Chicks. American singer-songwriter Susan Gibson penned the song which was released on July 28, 1998. It was the third single at the same time the title track from the Dixie Chicks’ fourth studio album, Wide Open Spaces. American record producer and business executive Blake Chancey and record producer and session guitarist Paul Worley co-produced the song and later released by Monument Records.
This three-minute song, “Wide Open Spaces“, was a chart-topper in 1998. It topped two music charts that year — one in Canada, and one in the U.S. The song hit the no. 1 spot on both the Billboard Hot Country Songs for four weeks and the Canadian RPM Country Tracks. In addition, it placed no. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Indeed, “Wide Open Spaces” is certainly a Dixie Chicks’ signature song and a single to be reckoned. In fact, RIAA ranked the song no. 259 on its 365 Songs of the Century. Moreover, CMT placed it at no. 22 in its 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music in 2003.
Story Behind the Song
Behind the beautifully arranged melody and the sweet melodic drama of the song, there is more to know about it. When Texas-based singer-songwriter Susan Gibson wrote the song in 1993, she first took a visit at her hometown. During that time, she was studying a degree in forestry at the University of Montana. When she left home, she accidentally forgot the notebook containing the lyrics of the song. Fortunately, her mother found it which she eventually sent to Gibson in a care package that inspired the latter. Gibson then completed and finished the song with the theme of leaving and longing for home.
Furthermore, when the song was finished, she performed it in local clubs in her university, where at times it was requested. In the late 1990s, Gibson became the lead singer of a band called The Groobees. They recorded an album containing her self-penned song “Wide Open Spaces“. The single was produced by Lloyd Maines, the father of Natalie Maines, the lead singer of Dixie Chicks.
Producer Lloyd Maines identifies himself at experiencing the song story. He then took the opportunity to present the song to daughter, Natalie, for her to record since he thinks that the song suits her voice well. Sony Music label and the Dixie Chicks agreed with Lloyd’s assessment and the recording of the group was then set. As a result, “Wide Open Spaces” became one of the best-known songs of the all-girl group.
Here are some of the lyrics of “Wide Open Spaces” that contains the message of the song:
Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about
Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone
Many precede and many will follow
A young girl’s dreams no longer hollow
It takes the shape of a place out west
But what it holds for her, she hasn’t yet guessed
She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes
Watch Dixie Chicks’ 1998 hit “Wide Open Spaces” below:
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Dixie Chicks, Wide Open Spaces