John Michael Montgomery’s “I Swear” was written by the famous duo Gary Baker and Frank J. Myers. It became a smash hit, not only for the country singer but as well as for the two talented songwriters.
The song was actually Montgomery’s first country hit. He released it in 1993 as the lead single off his second studio album with Atlantic Records called, Kickin’ It Up. The country ballad quickly climbed to the top spot of Billboard US Hot Country Songs – where it remained for four remarkable weeks – while also managing to cross over, peaking at No. 42 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
“I Swear” is a song filled with promises from a man who vows to his significant lover that he will stay by her side, for better or worse, and that he will love her until death do them part.
The Story Behind The Song
The two Nashville songwriters recalled the incredible events that gave birth to the heartwarming “I swear” lyrics. It was one morning in 1987 when Myers came up with the song title and told Gary about it, who then hurriedly drove down to Myers’ home in Sheffield, Alabama.
It was a three-hour drive from Nashville. So, while on the road, Myers started coming up with the chorus, music, and words – working over the line “and I swear by the moon and the stars and the sky.”
Baker and Myers then headed to Rick Hall’s Fame Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where they composed the verses and completed the country ballad together. Baker went on to record a country demo of “I Swear” and started pitching it to everyone they know in town; sadly, everybody passed on it. Still, the two never gave up, and they kept pitching it throughout the country for five years.
In early 1993, Myers had the opportunity to play the country ballad to John Michael Montgomery, who really liked it the first time he heard it. But the country singer was not certain if it was better compared to the songs he had already chosen for his album project at that time.
Two weeks have passed, and Myers still hasn’t heard of Montgomery – until they met again at a party hosted by Montgomery’s label, Atlantic Records. Myers once again played the song to the budding country star. Much to the songwriters’ surprise, they’ve heard the news a few days later that Montgomery has finally cut the song.
Atlantic Records knew that the song would be a crossover hit that they thought of having Montgomery record a pop version; however, the label head did not want to make the country radio stations unhappy, so they enlisted their new vocal group All-4-One to record the song.
All-4-One released their pop version a few months after Montgomery, and it hit No. 1 in several countries, such as the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Soon enough, Myers and Baker started gaining several awards for penning “I Swear,” which includes the Grammy Award for Best Country Song, and even became among the biggest songwriters in Nashville.
Make sure to check out “I Swear” by John Michael Montgomery in the video below.
John Michael Montgomery