Writer Of Rascal Flatts’ 1st #1 Shares Hilarious Story About It

By kncitom on January 8, 2020
Songwriter Jeffrey Steele (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

Jeffrey Steele is one of the most successful and revered songwriters in Nashville. Plying his trade since the early 90s when he left his somewhat successful country group Boy Howdy to write full-time, Steele had his first #1 song in 2002 with Tim McGraw’s The Cowboy In Me. But closely on the heels of that was Steele’s 2nd #1, which was the first #1 for Rascal Flatts–who recently announced they will retire as a band after a farewell tour this summer. So, now seems like a good time to look back on the band’s stellar career and one of my favorite stories came not from Gary, Joe Don or Jay, but from Steele, who told me in 2018 on my songwriter’s podcast, Write You a Song, that These Days was a song he did not want to write.

Jeffrey Steele (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for AIMP Nashville)

At the time, Steele said he had just been introduced to “looped tracks”–short sections of songs that are recorded and repeated. It’s common now for writers to use them as guides for their lyrics, but in the early 2000s, it was not, and Steele wasn’t comfortable with it. But, being a pro, he pressed on, eventually writing out some lyrics and then cutting a vocal track that would be used to shop the song around later.

(I) Wrote the whole song, hated it, and I didn’t have a title for it. At the very end of it, I sang it into the microphone, I went: ‘that’s what I’m doin’ these days’, and I threw it in there at the end.” He says he turned it into the publishing company and said, “Don’t ever make me do this again. This was the most painful thing I’ve ever been through.” 

Steele says “6 or 7 weeks later“, he got a call from someone at the publishing company. “He said, ‘Jeff remember that song you didn’t want to write?’ I said, ‘yeah, don’t ever make me do that again‘”. Steele was told the song was going to be recorded by ‘this new group (that) got a deal on Lyric Street called Rascal Flatts’, and I go, ‘Oh God what a stupid name!’ and I would know because I was in a group called Boy Howdy‘!” 

It’s a very funny story and even better when you hear him tell it, which you can below. You can also check out the podcast here and hear Jeffrey talk about his songwriting career, including where the inspiration came for another of Rascal Flatts’ biggest hits.



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