Little Big Town‘s Kimberly Schlapman and Karen Fairchild put their latest hit, “Girl Crush,” on lockdown as soon as they heard it. The ladies were in a writing session with the song’s writers, Liz Rose and Lori McKenna, also known as The Love Junkies, when Karen asked them what they had written lately.
“They said, ‘We’ll play this for you, but you’ll never cut it,'” Kimberly recalls. “So, we started listening to ‘Girl Crush,’ and we had no idea, of course, where it was going to go. Then literally, when it kind of gave it away what it was about, it took my breath. I gasped when I realized what it was about.”
At that point, Karen and Kimberly begged Liz and Lori not to play “Girl Crush” for anyone else. Once LBT’s band mates Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook heard “Girl Crush,” Kimberly says, “They loved it as much as we did, and then we cut it.”
At first, “Girl Crush” ran into some resistance at radio on the way to becoming the big hit it is today. Instead of understanding the lyrics as depicting a jealous woman singing about the man she loves being in love with another woman, a few mistaken listeners complained about the song’s perceived lesbian subject matter. Those calls led a few stations to stop playing the song as much, just as it was starting to climb the country chart.
Fellow artists such as Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Reba took to social media wearing “Girl Crush” hats in support of the song. All the attention led to “Girl Crush” becoming a one of the biggest-selling country singles in recent memory. It ended up being a huge hit at country radio, too.
“I don’t think we could have written a better story for this song,” Kimberly says. “We were so disheartened by how it started out, but then people rallied around it at radio and our fans and our other friends in the business really made it their own. This little song has had a great life, and we are so excited about it.”
“Girl Crush” is expected to be a serious contender for Single and Song of the Year at this November’s CMA Awards. The track is included on Little Big Town’s latest album, Pain Killer, available now.
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