In 2014, Tim McGraw released “Shotgun Rider” as the third single from his album Sundown Heaven Town.
The song then became another No. 1 hit for McGraw as it sailed on top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs, Billboard Country Airplay, and in the Billboard Country chart in Canada. It also peaked at No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Not only that, but the song also received a favorable review. Taste of Country’s Billy Dukes, for instance, described the song as “an example of how the singer, producer, and songwriter all need to come together to create beautiful music.”
While Billboard’s Chuck Dauphin called the song “the perfect mix of old-school McGraw with some stirring steel guitar work and a few new sounds with some nifty guitar riffs.”
The Story Behind The Song
Written by Marv Green, Troy Verges, and Hillary Lindsey, “Shotgun Rider” tells the tale of a man who wants his special someone to ride shotgun with him, and he doesn’t want anybody else but her.
“I don’t ever want to wake up lookin’ into someone else’s eyes, another voice calling me baby on the other end of the phone, a new girl puttin’ on her makeup before dinner on Friday night. No, I don’t even wanna know, oh oh. No other shotgun rider, beside me, singin’ to the radio,” the song goes.
When the three songwriters met to write “Shotgun Rider,” they started working on an entirely different song. As Green recalled, it was the title “Hard Act to Follow” that he brought to the table, thinking the theme could lead them to a new song.
“It was like, ‘I hope you never leave because if you did, you’d be a hard act to follow,'” Green said. “It had a negativity or at least a sadness to it. We got into it and were like, ‘No one’s going to listen to this. This is too sad.'”
Thinking the song was too depressing to finish, the three writers started writing another one. They began with one line they had from the previous song, and the rest followed.
“Sometimes songs go where they want to go if you’re willing to let them,” Green said. “I think that was the line that stayed.”
Unbeknownst to Green, Verges, and Lindsey, McGraw had already recorded a different song with the same title for his album Let It Go in 2007. The three writers can’t help but be grateful that the country superstar still chose to record their song.
You can listen to “Shotgun Rider” in the video below.