Story Behind the Song: Lady Antebellum, ‘I Run to You’
Lady Antebellum's Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley co-wrote the trio's first No. 1 hit, "I Run to You," with Tom Douglas. Released in January 2009 as the third and final single from Lady A's self-titled debut album, the song also became their first Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 tune, and it landed in Top 20 spots on the Adult Contemporary and Adult Top 40 charts. "I Run to You" won a CMA Award for Single of the Year in 2009, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocals; it has been certified double platinum. Below, Douglas tells The Boot about how the song came to be.
We got together in the fall of 2007 at my house. We'd never met before, although I'd certainly heard their demos and knew they were real singers and songwriters. When you write with artists like that, they're looking for certain slots for certain songs. Dave and Charles are great writers, and we just started kicking around the idea. I'm not sure who had the idea -- it might have been me, because I had run in a race a few days before we got together. There was a guy running in front of me, and he had this thing on his T-shirt that said "I run this town." I put that idea in the back of my mind. I told them about the T-shirt because I thought it was an interesting concept -- I run. So then we started talking about "I run this" and "I run that."
The thing that's interesting about Lady Antebellum, there are some words in the song like "pessimist," "prejudice" and "hate." A lot of artists would be reluctant to use those words. Even though they roll off the tongue, they're kind of message-y. But Lady Antebellum were willing to embrace those concepts. That's probably what I loved most about the song -- they're willing to say some things that are difficult to say. Most people will tell you to write for the quintessential guy on the barstool, and not get above his head. I think that guy is a lot smarter than we give him credit for. This song has a pretty intelligent, mature lyric, and I think the guy on the barstool got it. Our experiences are pretty universal, and I think he wants to run from prejudice and pessimists just like I do. You don't have to have an MBA from Harvard to feel that kind of thing; it's all pretty universal.
I heard the song soon after they recorded it. The reason I'm writing songs today is because of Paul Worley, who is their producer. He called me and had me come by the studio, and he played a rough mix of it for me. I was knocked out because of the unusual approach of the introduction and the B-3 organ. The whole thing is a different-sounding record to me, but that is the magic of Paul Worley. The song sounded nothing like the demo. It was a good song, but Paul made it a great record. And the group's members are great singers, great writers, and they look great. So as long as you've got that as a collaborator, that's the best of all worlds to have. It's always a thrill to be part of someone's early success like this, and being part of their first No. 1 has been a lot of fun.
This story was originally written by Vernell Hackett, and revised by Angela Stefano.
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