Story Behind the Song: Carrie Underwood, ‘Church Bells’
Written by Zach Crowell, Brett James and Hillary Lindsey, Carrie Underwood's No. 1 hit "Church Bells" -- released in April of 2016 as a single from her 2015 Storyteller album -- is about sweet (and deadly) revenge by a woman scorned. One of Underwood’s patented story songs, the country superstar has called the tune “”Fancy”‘s little sister.” Below, Underwood and the writers of "Church Bells" recall the day they wrote the hit single.
Zach Crowell: For a writer, to write with Hillary Lindsey and Brett James is a good day.
I try to have some ideas, try to come prepared. I had an idea and a little track ready. They came in, I suggested it, and, luckily, they are much smarter than I am. Whatever initial idea I had, they took it and started doing their thing.
Hillary Lindsey: I just remember you had the title, and then it was, "What can this be about?" ... I think once we started, once we kind of got the ball started rolling, then we definitely had [Underwood] in mind. It was so fun, because we got to chase the story of the character.
Brett James: We had talked about this. I remember our initial thoughts were to have a western theme ... We were like, "This could be kind of fun for that." We fell in the spirit of that.
Lindsey: We were just kind of hanging out and talking about some ideas. Zach had a great little groove going, and we said "Church Bells" and started rolling with it and trying to figure out exactly what it meant. We weren’t sure. We just created a crazy story.
James: And then we killed him.
Lindsey: I think I did come home that day and maybe [I remember my husband] going, “How’d you do today? Did you get a good one?” and I’m like, “I murdered somebody. Yeah. I did. I murdered somebody.”
Carrie Underwood: I was drawn to it because I love story songs, obviously, but I also love [songs that] empower women.
I wouldn’t ever want any woman to feel like she’d have to go and shoot her husband -- that should go without saying, but I’ll go ahead and say it. I feel like, in a lot of songs, or a lot of movies or stories or whatever, people have to be pushed to their limits to act and to find that inner strength.
I love a good strong-woman song.
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