How to Write a Song That Breaks Records

When Sam Hunt went to Charleston, South Carolina, in November to write with Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Zach Crowell, he told the told the group, “I have an idea for a song, but I don’t know if you’ll think it’s a cool idea.”

At the time, it was just a song title: “Body Like a Back Road.”

Now, more than eight months later, that song title has become a very, very cool idea. It has broken the record every artist wants to break by spending 25 consecutive weeks on the top of the Billboard hot country songs chart, making it the longest No. 1 streak in history, according to the Washington Post.

The Washington Post story describes the songwriting session from the perspective of Hunt’s co-writers.

Osborne said, “We were like, ‘Yes, we want to write that.’ It just sounded like a hit country song.”

Crowell noted, “I definitely think it’s simple. And simple always wins. That’s one common thread from the beginning of music.”

And McAnally added, “Sam has the advantage of going out on stage and performing these songs, so he has the viewpoint of what people are going to respond to. So sometimes that’s hard for us, because we’re trying to write these definitive lines that people will go, ‘How did they think of that?’ Honestly, this song does that, but in a different way. That’s how I feel when I hear it. I’m like, ‘The breeze and the birds!’”

“I mean, it must have taken us nine hours of actual songwriting work to ever come to that line. It’s just a different beast,” he said of the song’s infectious lyrics.

So infectious, in fact, that Hunt took the line about “doin’ 15 in a 30, I ain’t in no hurry” and used it to name his current 15 in a 30 Tour. His next stop on that tour is on Thursday (Aug. 10) in Chula Vista, California.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.

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