Songcraft: Conversations with Great Songwriters Podcast

Bob McDill


Ep. 74 - Bob McDill

Song of the South: More Singles on the Country Chart Than Anyone Ever!

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Scott and Paul call up Bob to get the scoop on the song that converted him to country music; why he says he was once in danger of becoming a "professional Southerner," the song he says was the last to come to him quickly before years of laborious sculpting and crafting; how he managed to stay relevant and guide new trends across three full decades; his thoughts on why so many of his songs became hits multiple times for different artists; and why he decided to walk away from songwriting altogether.

Before he retired in the early 2000s, Bob McDill landed 152 hits on the Billboard country chart, more than any other songwriter in history. He hit the Billboard Top 10 an astounding 55 times, and 23 of those singles climbed all the way to #1.

Many artists returned to the McDill songbook repeatedly, including Don Williams, who scored with the #1 hits “(Turn Out the Light And) Love Me Tonight,” “Say It Again,” “She Never Knew Me,” “Rake and Ramblin’ Man,” “It Must Be Love,” “Good Ole Boys Like Me,” and “If Hollywood Don’t Need You.” Mel McDaniel enjoyed four Top 10 hits written by Bob, including “Louisiana Saturday Night” and the #1 “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On.” Those who hit #1 at least twice with McDill compositions include Ronnie Milsap, with “Nobody Likes Sad Songs” and “Why Don’t You Spend the Night;” Doug Stone, with “In a Different Light” and “Why Didn’t I Think of That;” Alan Jackson, with “Gone Country” and his revival of “It Must Be Love;” and Dan Seals, who co-wrote several of his own hits with McDill, including the #1 songs “My Baby’s Got Good Timing,” “Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold),” and “Big Wheels in the Moonlight.” Additionally, Bob wrote or co-wrote #1 singles such as “The Door is Always Open” by Dave and Sugar, “You Never Miss a Real Good Thing (Till He Says Goodbye)” by Crystal Gayle, “Amanda” by Waylon Jennings, “We Believe in Happy Endings” by Earl Thomas Conley and Emmylou Harris, “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Keith Whitley, “Song of the South” by Alabama, and “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful” by Sammy Kershaw.

In addition to multiple Top 5 singles such as Johnny Russell’s “Rednecks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer,” Ed Bruce’s “You Turn Me On (Like a Radio)," and Pam Tillis’s “All The Good Ones Are Gone,” Bob has penned Top 10 hits for Johnny Cash, George Jones, Conway Twitty, Bobby Bare, Mac Davis, Johnny Rodriguez, John Anderson, Mickey Gilley, Anne Murray, and Lee Roy Parnell. He has also written charting singles for Jerry Lee Lewis, Charley Pride, Tammy Wynette, and both Duke Boys, Tom Wopat and John Schneider, with the latter taking Bob’s “I’ve Been Around Enough to Know” to #1.

McDill was named Country Songwriter of the Year seven times between 1976 and 1994: three times each by the Nashville Songwriters Association and BMI, and once by ASCAP. Nine of his songs were nominated for Song of the Year by the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music, or both organizations. The four time Grammy nominee earned ASCAP’s Golden Note Award, received the Academy of Country Music’s prestigious Poet’s Award, and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

       

Songcraft's Bob McDill Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy a selection of sixty hits from Bob's vast catalog. If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.