November 29

“I Wish I Could Have Been There” by John Anderson

“I Wish I Could Have Been There” was co-written by John Anderson and Kent Robbins. Anderson himself recorded it. In April 1994, the track was released as the fourth and final single from his album Solid Ground. For the week of April 23, 1994, its debut made it to number 75 on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks. It peaked at numbers 4 and 21, respectively, in the US and Canada.

Solid Ground

1993 was the said release of the album Solid Ground under BNA Records. The album includes the singles “Money in the Bank”, “I’ve Got It Made”, “I Fell in the Water”, and “I Wish I Could Have Been There”. Additionally, “Bad Love Gone Good” written by Dave Robbins, Van Stephenson, and Henry Paul is in the album. At that time, Dave, Van, and Henry were members of the band Black Hawk. Later in 1995, they added “I Wish I Could Have Been There” in their Strong Enough album.

Looking back, quite a few high-powered business leaders, politicians, and entertainers wish they had not worked so hard. They wish they could have spent more time with their loved ones. “I Wish I Could Have Been There” is the perfect song for that lament.  In the song, the narrator wishes he could have been with his family more often for many things. He was unable to be there when her daughter was born or when his son hit a home run in a baseball game. Now that the kids have grown and moved, he is regretful that they are not there for their 25th anniversary.

The chorus says it all:

I wish we could have been there
I wish we could have been there
I wish we could have been there for that
It was a happy day, but kinda’ sad
I wish they could have been there
I wish they could have been there
I wish they could have been there, for that

Deborah Evans Price, of Billboard magazine, gave the song a mixed review, saying that while Anderson “squeezes the emotional maximum from this nostalgic ballad with his usual full vocal assault”, she compared its theme to the song “Cat’s in the Cradle”.


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