Story Behind the Song: Faith Hill, ‘Let Me Let Go’
Faith Hill released "Let Me Let Go" in September of 1998, as the third single from her Faith album, but the song, co-written by Steve Diamond and Dennis Morgan, had been floating around Music Row for several years before the country singer recorded it. As Diamond tells The Boot, they knew it was a hit -- and once Hill recorded it, she proved their instincts right: "Let Me Let Go" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and earned a Top 10 spot on the Adult Contemporary chart (No. 10) and a Top 40 place on the Hot 100 (No. 33); it was also nominated for a Grammy, for best Female Country Vocal Performance, and used on the Message in a Bottle movie soundtrack.
I love songs where the singer is deluding themselves, saying something that the listener knows isn't true. In this song, the singer basically knows the object of the song doesn't have the power to let them let go. It's really up to the singer, but the singer is pretending that the power is with the other person they were formerly in love with. There are some songs out there that do that pretty well -- like [George Jones'] "She Thinks I Still Care" -- and I feel we did a pretty good job on this song.
I wrote this song with Dennis Morgan. I had the title and the first part of the chorus, and then Dennis and I wrote the rest of it. What's interesting is the business side of this song: This song took several years to get recorded after we wrote it. I did five different demos of it ... because I believed in it! And when I started playing it around town, people loved it, but the comment was frequently, "It's got too many chord changes!"
But some songs you let go, and this song I believed in so much that I kept demo-ing it ... "If they're not getting it in this form, maybe they'll get it in this other form." And, surprisingly, the version that got cut was our original, guitar-vocal version. Fortunately, [Hill's producer] Dann Huff got it and loved the song and waited for the right artist to cut it on. He played it for Faith, and she loved it. She did such a fantastic job; we were thrilled.
Something interesting about this song is, we had an idea what the song was about when we were writing it -- clearly about a former relationship -- but I've had people come up to me and tell me they related it to their battle with alcohol and drugs. "Let Me Let Go" ... They thought it was so powerful, almost talking to the drug or alcohol: "I want to let go of you. Just give me the permission or do something rotten to finally take me over that line." That was a real interesting perspective -- somebody taking lyrics how we did not intend it.
This story was originally written by Marianne Horner, and revised by Angela Stefano.
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