Country singer Trisha Yearwood, one of the genre’s biggest female artists, has a reputation for her sublime delivery of emotive songs. She knew how to take her listeners into the song and experience it. A testament to this is her 1993 lead single, “The Song Remembers When,” off her third studio album of the same name.
Written by Hugh Prestwood, this slow ballad was originally recorded by Kathy Mattea. Unfortunately, during the final stages of production, the song was dropped. Yearwood picked it up and made it a massive hit – peaking at number two on the Billboard Country Singles chart, landing her very first spot on the Hot 100, and earning nominations for a Grammy as Best Country Song and in the CMAs as Single of the Year.
Meaning Behind the Song
“The Song Remembers When” rides the listener’s emotion towards the feeling of nostalgia and describes how songs can become an anchor point in which people recall their most treasured feelings and memories that have been forgotten.
In an interview with Bart Herbison of Nashville Songwriters Association International, Prestwood shared the story behind the track. According to the songwriter, Anne Sexton’s poem “The Music Swims Back to Me” inspired him to write the song. One line in particular drew him in: “That song remembers more than I do.” He thought it was a great idea and wrote it down.
Six months later, he and his wife were out driving in Rocky Mountain National Park into the clouds when he suddenly heard his radio hit with Randy Travis titled “Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart.” And it was such a memorable moment that he remembered thinking he would never forget that moment.
When he got back to his home in Long Island, he started pulling up memories of where songs took him back. And that was how the first two verses came to happen. But the last verse was the most challenging part because he wasn’t sure how he was going to conclude. While some songs he had written had a honeymoon period where he felt it was great for only a few days, this one was as good a song as he could write.
Despite that, he had a hard time getting the tract cut. But it was well worth the wait when he heard Trisha Yearwood’s in the office of his producer, Garth Fundis. “I honestly jumped out of the chair and I said, “We’re in the Hall of Fame!”
Take in the whole experience of music and memories with Trisha Yearwood’s “The Song Remembers When” in the video below. And if you want more tunes like this, then take this time to listen to more Trisha Yearwood songs.