Live Like You Were Dying
Writer(s): Tim Nichols, Craig Wiseman (see lyrics here)
Released: June 7, 2004
First Charted: June 5, 2004
Peak: 29 US, 34 RR, 4 AC, 21 A40, 17 CW (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 2.31 US
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 44.4 video, 130.24 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Tim McGraw was already a well-established country singer when “Live Like You Were Dying” became the biggest hit of his career. His chart debut came in 1992 and two years later he achieved then-rare crossover appeal when hs songs “Indian Outlaw” and “Don’t Take the Girl” became top-20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The latter became his first of 19 country chart-toppers leading up to “Dying.”
Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman wrote the song based around family and friends who’d gained new perspectives on life after learning they had cancer. The lyrics focus on “experiencing life to its fullest, while also becoming a better person.” WK The song focuses on a man diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and decides to do the things he’d always wanted to do, such as skydiving and mountain climbing. By the end of the song, the singer is following the same example.
The song had a personal connection for Tim McGraw. His father, baseball pitcher Tug McGraw, died of a brain tumor on January 5, 2004 – just two weeks before Tim went to Allaire studios in upstate New York to record “Live Like You Were Dying.” SF All Music Guide’s Thom Jurek said this is “the very best kind of modern country song; the emotion in McGraw’s delivery is honest, not saccharine…The lyric itself is sold and beautifully constructed, a perfect marriage of melody, hook, and direct, simple lyrics.” AMG
From an awards standpoint, the song can make a claim as the most celebrated in country music history, claiming prizes from the Academy of Country Music (Best Single and Song), Billboard (Country Song of the Year), Broadcast Music Inc. (Country Song of the Year), Country Music Association (Best Single and Song), and the Grammys (Country Song of the Year).
First posted 11/2/2021.
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