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Story Behind the Song: Tim McGraw, ‘Grown Men Don’t Cry’

In April of 2001, Tim McGraw released the first single from his Set This Circus Down album, “Grown Men Don’t Cry.” Co-written by Tom Douglas and Steve Seskin, the song earned the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and a Top 30 spot on the Hot 100 (No. 25). Below, Douglas tells The Boot about the inspiration for the tune.

I had gone to the grocery store one day, had parked my car and was walking into the store, when I saw this woman talking on a pay phone. She had mascara tears running down her face, and her little boy was weaving in and out of her legs while she was talking on the phone … and she looked like an ice cream cone, melting.

I went in the store, got my groceries, came back out and wondered what happened to them. And then I passed by a car, and they were in it. And in the back of the car were newspapers and Chef Boyardee cans. And I thought, what should I do? And I did nothing except get back in my car and go home.

And I was haunted by my paralysis and inability to do anything about that. And that feeling started this song when I sat down to write with Steve. I had that first verse, and actually the second vignette was more Steve’s life than it was mine … about putting the rose on the grave and talking to the wind. And then the third verse was kind of a combination of both of our lives, but being tied together by singing, “I don’t know why they say grown men don’t cry.”

This story was originally written by Marianne Horner, and revised by Angela Stefano.

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