In an interview with MTV, Nickelback's lead singer Chad Kroeger said that he wrote the song about his old girlfriend Jodi, who he had a rather dysfunctional relationship with. He kept the lyrics very ambiguous, however, which accounts for much of the song's success, as many people could relate to an ex who started pointing out all of your faults at the same time and caused considerable heartbreak: "This time I'm mistaken, for handing you a heart worth breaking." Silver Side Up was Nickelback's third album, and many of the songs were about relationships and personal issues.
Kroeger brought the song to the band a week before recording the album, thinking of it as a possible last-minute addition. The band finished the song in about 10 minutes and knew they had something special. This was a contrast to most of the album's material, which was written even before their previous album, The State (2000).
This was a huge surprise hit for Nickelback's record company, Roadrunner Records, which was expecting Slipknot to provide their commercial success for 2001. Instead, it was Nickelback. The album was released on September 11, 2001. This was the first single and most popular song, resulting in many listeners associating the song with remembrances of the tragedies of that day. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
This was the most played song of 2002 on US radio stations. It was played somewhere about once every 5 minutes. (thanks, Ihavealongfirstname - Toronto, Canada)
This was only the second time a song by a Canadian group hit #1 on the US charts. The first time - "American Woman
" by The Guess Who.
Sum 41 does a cover of this from time to time, with slight changes to the lyrics. They played in on MTV's New Year's countdown to 2002. (thanks, mel - London, England)
Near the end of this song, the band drop out and Kroeger bellows, "for handing you a heart worth breaking!" It was Drum tech Andrew Mawhinney who came up with the idea for this hook. Kroeger later recalled: "He goes, 'you guys should do a big stop right at the last chorus'." The band gave Mawhinney $5000 for coming up with the suggestion.
This was the most-played radio song in the US during the first decade of the 21st century with over 1.2 million spins. It was followed by Train's "Drops of Jupiter
," which was played over 1.1 million times during the '00s.
Chad Kroeger's fiancée, Avril Lavigne, covered the song in 2012 for One Piece Film Z, the eleventh Japanese anime feature film based on the shōnen manga series One Piece by Eiichiro Oda.