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Story Behind the Song: Kenny Chesney, ‘Summertime’

In April of 2006, Kenny Chesney released “Summertime” as the third single from his The Road and the Radio album. The song, written by Craig Wiseman and Steve McEwan, hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Below, Wiseman tells The Boot about how the song came to be.

Steve and I have had a good run of getting songs cut by Kenny: He and I wrote “Young,” and we have another Kenny cut called “Time Flies” on [2012’s Welcome to the Fishbowl].

[When we wrote “Summertime”], Steve was in town from London. We had about three days to write, so we were really taking advantage of our time. We’d go til 1 or 2 in the morning … until we dropped! We were writing “My Old Friend” [for Tim McGraw], but we were trying not to write a ballad, so we kept trying not to write that particular song. Finally, around midnight, we took a break from writing “My Old Friend” and went out on the back steps of my office; it was that first night when it stays warm, and you can smell the grass growing. I walked outside and was like, “Man … summertime! Smell that!” It was that first warm night of summer; it was great.

That next day, I was driving in to write with Steve. For whatever reason, I kept going, “Summertime! Summertime!” It was sticking in my head. We got to the office, and I pulled up a drumbeat and started saying it to the beat.

I didn’t want to call it “Summertime,” because you want to come up with a little better of a title than that, but it just kept coming back to “Summertime.”

I’m from Mississippi, so I’m a kid from the South. Summertime was always the start of the year for me, and it still is. I look at my year starting not in January, but in June, when school is letting out. If I’m going to be associated with a season, I’d rather it be summertime than try to write another Christmas song or something!

This story was originally written by Alanna Conaway, and revised by Angela Stefano.

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