Brooks & Dunn, ‘Put a Girl in It’ — Story Behind the Song
In the latter part of 2006, Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip got together to write, not knowing that their lives would soon change forever. The three songwriters, christened the Peach Pickers because they all hail from Georgia, have become one of Nashville’s most successful writing teams, penning Joe Nichols‘ ‘Gimme That Girl,’ Blake Shelton‘s ‘All About Tonight’ and Luke Bryan‘s ‘I Don’t Want This Night to End,’ among others.
Not long after they began their writing relationship, the Peach Pickers penned ‘Put a Girl in It.’ Brooks & Dunn fell in love with the song and recorded it for 2007’s ‘Cowboy Town,’ their final album as a duo. The tune peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Below, the trio tells The Boot about how the hit came to be.
Akins: Ben and Dallas were supposed to write together, and I was scheduled to write with someone else, but I got canceled on. I called Ben and said, “Hey, do you want to write?” Ben said, “Yeah, but Dallas is going to be about three hours late because he’s coming home from Georgia. Why don’t you and me go write until Dallas gets here.”
Ben and I started writing a song we’d been working on called ‘Country Strong’ that Blake Shelton ended up recording [on his 2008 album ‘Startin’ Fires’]. While we were waiting on Dallas to get there from Atlanta, we were working on that song. This whole song was about a farmer and a cowboy and talking about people who were “country strong.” Ben said, “I think girls are ‘country strong,’ too, so I think we should put a girl in this song.” I said, “Maybe … I don’t know. Let’s keep rockin’ along the way we’re going, and maybe we’ll get her in at the end.” Ben said, “I’m just telling you right now, we’ve got to put a girl in it.” He said it about two or three times. Finally about the third time he said it, I don’t know why, it just clicked in my head. I was like, “That’s a whole song in itself!” We started messing around with that idea, and about that time, Dallas showed up.
We scratched the other song because we knew this one was a hit. Dallas grabbed his guitar and started doing this groove. He said, “What’s the song about?” I said, “It’s about you can have a truck, a house, a boat and all these great things, but it doesn’t mean anything until you put a girl in it.”
Davidson: We wrote a verse and the chorus that day.
Akins: I had to go out of town the next day. Ben calls me and says, “Hey, we wrote a second verse and the bridge.” I said, “I don’t know about this …” He was like, “Well, Dallas wants to demo it.”
Davidson: The next day!
Akins: I said, “I’m out of town … don’t demo it until we all get back together so we can work on it.” I called Dallas and told him we can’t demo the song yet. The second verse was cool, but I thought we had to work on the bridge some more. Dallas says, “Trust me, it’s awesome.” [Laughs] I said, “No! We don’t need to demo it yet!” This was back when I was being way cautious. Dallas taught me to just roll with it.
They had told me they weren’t going to demo it without me. The next thing I know, Ben and Dallas call me two days later and said it’s on hold for Brooks & Dunn. Renee Bell at Sony emailed it to Ronnie Dunn, and Ronnie immediately emailed her back saying he loved it. He said he wanted to “Stones it up a little bit,” which meant to make it sound a little bit more like the Rolling Stones. I was like, “Y’all demoed the song?!” [Laughs]
Hayslip: To this day, Rhett still doesn’t think the song’s done! [Laughs]
Akins: I learned a lesson on that!