Country singer Justin Moore kicked off his fifth studio album, Late Nights and Longnecks, with its lead single, “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home,” which he released in October 2018.
The Arkansas native once again tapped into a more emotional topic as he paid tribute to all the American soldiers and other heroes, like police officers, doctors, and firefighters, whose lives are cut short in the line of duty. He dedicates the song to “every person who made the ultimate sacrifice, while fighting for what and whom they love.”
Moore performed the song twice during last year’s Memorial Day: once as part of a PBS National Memorial Day Concert. Then again, on the next day during the National Armed Forces Memorial Day Parade at Washington, D.C. Shortly after, the song ascended to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs chart.
The singer admitted that he’s astounded at the effect of “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home,” not only on his career but also on his personal life.
“When we wrote it, I knew it had a chance to be a special record,” Moore said. “But the platform that the industry and radio’s given this song has kind of blown me away.”
“It’s arguably our biggest record of my career,” he added, “which is kind of a mouthful this far into it.”
A Tribute To All Our Fallen Heroes
Justin Moore wrote the song with the help of co-writers Paul DiGiovanni, Chase McGill, and Jeremy Stover. Long before they penned the emotional ballad, “For the ones that didn’t make it back home” has already been Moore’s kind of mantra during live shows. Moore would always say it from the stage as a kind of toast to the crowd, and “kinda go through this spiel about how much our military means to us and how much we appreciate ’em.”
One night, in the middle of his performance, it dawned on Moore to write a song surrounding the message.
“I always talk about our servicemen and women and teachers and nurses and police officers and firefighters. And for eight years now, I’ve always ended that whole spiel with, ‘We’ll send it out to the ones that didn’t make it back home,'” he said. “I don’t know why it took me seven years, or eight years, to realize that’s the song title, but one night, on stage, I just said it and I go, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s a song.'”
So, after finishing his set, he came back to his tour bus and started working on the song. Luckily, his co-writers were already with him during that tour – “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” then quickly came into fruition.
The subject matter is also personal to Moore since both of his grandfathers served in the military: one in the Navy and the other one in the Air Force. “Really, my grandfathers were the ones that influenced me to be cognizant about being very appreciative and respectful of our men and women who serve and have served,” he said.
Besides giving recognition to our fallen heroes, Moore also intended to cut the song with the aim of showcasing a more serious side of his musical identity. “The last couple of lead singles were beer-drinking songs,” he explained. “I wanted to show a deeper side [with the new single].”
You can listen to “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” in the video below.