While driving from my home to my parents this morning, I heard a song on a country radio station that affected me so deeply that I had to pull off the side of the road until it had ended and I had composed myself again. The music, lyrics, and singing were great, but its sentiment hit me like a ton of bricks. And, guess what–this song is six years old. I don’t know where I’ve been that I hadn’t heard it before today. I’m talking about If You’re Reading This, by American Country Music Artist Tim McGraw.
After researching it, I learned that Tim first performed this song live at the Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards which were held in Las Vegas, Nevada and aired May 15, 2007 on the CBS Television Network just two weeks before 2007’s official Memorial Day.
About the Song
If You’re Reading This is a tribute to the families of soldiers who have died. Its lyrics take the form of a letter written from a soldier to his family — a letter that is intended to be sent only if the soldier died.
About the Authors and Singer
Inspired by reading a magazine article on war casualties, McGraw, along with Brad and Brett Warren of country duo The Warren Brothers, co-wrote If You’re Reading This about three weeks before the ACM awards aired.
Viewer and Listener Responses
When McGraw performed the song at the awards show, one hundred relatives of soldiers joined him onstage, under a banner that read “Families of Fallen Heroes”. Audience members and families on stage gave him a standing ovation.
Then, radio stations began playing it on air from the telecast. And, it debuted at #35 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts from the unsolicited airplay. McGraw later released a remixed version of the live recording for radio broadcast as a single. (A live recording studio version was never cut.) In November 2007, If You’re Reading This reached a peak of #3 on the Billboard country charts, becoming McGraw’s 42nd Top Ten country hit overall. The song also peaked at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Today’s music has too few songs that really touch our hearts and make us think about who we are and the times we live in. I just wanted to share this one with you. I hope you enjoy it.