Lee Greenwood is best known for his hit song "God Bless the USA," but the artist also has four decades worth of music in his repertoire. He's charted seven No. 1 hits in country music, not to mention a bunch of Top 10 songs, and has placed a few tunes on the Adult Contemporary chart as well.

It was back in 1981 that Greenwood released his very first single, "It Turns Me Inside Out." Below, he recalls to The Boot what it was like to hear it for the first time.

My excitement for having my first record ["It Turns Me Inside Out"] on the radio was so great. I had waited for an awful long time; I was 37 before I had my first hit, and I had already worked for 25 years in the business on the West Coast.

When I heard that song for the first time, it was in a car, because they didn't have radios in a bus. I think it was when I got home after working on the road, in 1981. It was probably in Nashville, on WSM. I called the radio station right after that and said, "Thanks for playing the record!" It's like any new artist when you first come on the scene -- everybody wants to talk to you -- and we started calling all the radio stations around the country.

I don't think anybody knows what they really sound like until they hear it on radio. You can do demos, and you have your own recordings, because people sing karaoke, and you kind of imagine what you sound like, but when you first hear it on the radio, finally, you know what the audience is listening to and what you're supposed to sound like. And the,n all of your ensuing records after that, you know what target to aim at.

This story was originally written by Pat Gallagher, and revised by Angela Stefano.

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