Before He Cheats
Writer(s): Josh Kear, Chris Tompkins (see lyrics here)
Released: August 19, 2006
First Charted: February 18, 2006
Peak: 8 US, 9 RR, 6 AC, 5 A40, 15 CW, 4 CN, 12 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.4 UK, 7.4 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.8 radio, 187.93 video, 370.33 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
“Done-me-wrong anthems don’t get much more fun or more satisfying” MX than this “clever tale of a jilted girlfriend who gets sweet revenge.” BT The song’s video showed the former American Idol winner making short work of her philandering boyfriend’s truck by way of a Louisville slugger. She made it clear that the next time he cheated, it wouldn’t be on her.
The song helped cement Underwood’s image as a country singer with wide-based pop appeal as well. When “Before He Cheats” won the Grammy for Best Country Song, the songwriters expressed surprise to Billboard magazine about the song’s broad appeal. One of the writers, Josh Kear, said, “You’ve got just enough sex and just enough violence to appeal to both sexes. The fact that they just left it as a straightforward Country record and it worked was a surprise, and pleasantly so.” SF
The other writer, Chris Tompkins relayed to TheBoot.com that they originally envisioned the song being sung by someone with a tougher image, like Gretchen Wilson. SF Underwood confessed to CMT that she almost passed on the song, saying, “People are going to hate me for singing this song. They’re gonna be like, ‘Oh my gosh, we can’t listen to her album. She’s bad and I can’t let my children listen to this.’” SF
The song accomplished several notable achievements. It took 38 weeks, longer than any other song, to climb into the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. SF Before the end of its run, it had logged 64 weeks on the chart, making it the fifth-longest charting single in Hot 100 history. WK It also became the first country song to sell two million downloads SF and is the fourth best-selling country song of all time. WK The song nabbed plenty of awards including Country Song/Single of the Year from the People’s Choice Awards, the Country Music Association, and ASCAP. CMT and the Academy of Country Music named it Video of the Year.
First posted 2/18/2013; last updated 10/22/2022.