For those of you who are die-hard country music fans, Seven Bridges Road will surely ring a bell and make you feel a sudden surge of nostalgia. The song is the first track in the late pioneer country rock singer’s second album that bears the same title.
Originally, the song was recorded in 1969 for Young’s album, Rock Salt & Nails. After it was first played on various radio stations, several artists globally did their own renditions of the famed rock anthem. The best-known cover was that of the rock band Eagles, combined with the breathtaking five-part harmony arrangement by an English musician named Iain Matthews.
The inspiration behind Steve Young’s Seven Bridges Road dates back to the singer’s sojourn in Montgomery, Alabama in 1960. In the words of the country rock star, he recalled,
“A group of friends….showed me [a] road [that] led out of town.” He adds, “After you had crossed seven bridges you found yourself out in the country on a dirt road. Spanish moss hung in the trees and there were old farms with old fences and graveyards and churches and streams. A high-bank dirt road with trees. It seemed like a Disney Fantasy at times. People went there to park or get stoned or just to get away from it all. I thought my friends had made up the name ‘Seven Bridges Road’. I found put later that it had been called by that name for over a hundred years.”
The place that the song was in reference to was identified as Woodley Road. At first, Young could not publicly identify the place’s real name due to his faulty memory. Thankfully, Wayne Greenhaw, a journalist from Alabama, accompanied Young and friend Jimmy Evans on a trip back to Woodley Road. There they had a guitar jam session with bluesman C.P. Austin, and that was when Steve Young penned the words to one of his highly acclaimed songs.
Young further discloses that Seven Bridges Road went through several revisions over the course of many years. Finally, during one of his gigs in Montgomery, he performed the complete and final version of the song.
Prior to being added to his album Rock, Salt & Nails, Seven Bridges Road was criticized for not having enough commercial value. But, after Young ran out of songs to record for the said album, he began playing his beloved Seven Bridges tune once again. LiPuma immediately declined the opportunity of a fresh track, saying,
“You know I don’t want to hear original stuff.”
To which guitarist James Burton countered by saying that the song was really good and that it should be added to the album.
After they recorded it, LiPuma finally changed his mind, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Seven Bridges Road, Steve Young
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