So What's The Shelf Life Of A Song?

As songwriters, do we ever really give up hope that a good song will eventually be discovered and recorded? We’ve heard the stories about songs getting pitched all over town and being loved by other writers, producers, A&R people, and artists.  Then, 5 or 10 YEARS later, at the intersection of the right time and the right place, the right artist and the right label… magic happens!  And a song comes back to life.

Maybe you know the song that Rascal Flatts turned into an overnight classic in 2005? 

Marcus Hummon, Jeff Hanna, and Bobby E. Boyd wrote the song.  

“The Story Behind the Song: Rascal Flatts’ “God Bless the Broken Road”

It was a broken road that took that song 11 years to finally find its way to the charts and into the hearts of millions of listeners. The song is the story of someone looking back at all the wrong turns that ultimately led him to the right person…and realizing how perfect and blessed the whole journey was. That could be said about the 11 year journey of the song also. Sometimes the best songs take longer to rise to the top because they are following a road less traveled. 

So What’s The Shelf Life of a Song? 

I got a phone call in 2013 congratulating me on having co-written the new Johnny Cash single.

Written by Kye Fleming & Dennis Morgan

Written by Kye Fleming & Dennis Morgan

Ok, it was some kind of joke, because that would be impossible, right?  But apparently John Carter Cash had found a “lost album” his dad had recorded for Columbia in 1982. A song called “She Used to Love Me A Lot” had been chosen to be a single from that album 31 years after it had been recorded. My long time co-writer, Dennis Morgan, and I had written that song in 1981 with another writer, and dear friend, Charles Quillen. It was recorded in 1981 and became a hit single for David Alan Coe. So is that how Johnny heard the song? Or had someone pitched it to him first? We’ll never know, but it was surreal to find out Johnny Cash cut one of our songs. And it was thrilling to hear his voice from 1982 singing a song we never knew he had recorded. Magic happens.  Songs come back to life. 

So What’s The Shelf Life of a Song? 

It’s too soon to tell.

Kye Fleming

Nashville Tennessee

Oct 23, 2015

Top image: Ernest Tubb Record Shop, Nashville

About Kye:

"Kye Fleming is a rarity, a bridge between traditional and modern country music and a creative force who helped expand Nashville's reach. Her songs helped redefine and revitalize a genre. A two-time BMI Pop Songwriter of the Year and three-time BMI Country Songwriter of the Year with 38 BMI Awards across multiple genres, 15 of her songs have generated more than 1 million performances each. As a modern-day pioneer, she shattered glass ceilings for women and for all songwriters who refused to be stuffed into a category, and we at BMI couldn't be prouder of her accomplishments.”

Del Bryant
BMI President and CEO

Kye Fleming iDoCoach

Kye Fleming iDoCoach

Kye is currently coaching songwriters and artists one on one, worldwide, via Skype, phone and in person. Click here to find out more about her coaching.