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3 AM


Matchbox Twenty

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Lead singer Rob Thomas wrote this about the time he spent caring for his mother when she was sick with cancer. Thomas was 12 years old when she got the disease, and she was given 6 months to live. She beat it, and by the time Rob was 17, she was healthy and he left home to set out on his own. (thanks, Megan - Tracy, CA)
Thomas chose the time 3 am because it was an hour after the bars usually closed.
This came together when the band was known as Tabitha's Secret (Tabitha was the daughter on the TV show Bewitched). The band played in the Orlando area from 1993 until 1996, when Rob Thomas, Brain Yale and Paul Doucette signed a record deal and left to form Matchbox 20. The 2 members who were left behind continued as Tabitha's Secret and as a result of a lawsuit, were granted the rights to play and record this song, since they played on the demo of this that helped get Matchbox 20 the record deal.
The original version of this that helped get the band signed is acoustic. In 1998, the 2 remaining members of Tabitha's Secret released it on their album Don't Play With Matches. This version sounds a lot like Matchbox 20 and features Rob Thomas on vocals. Tabitha's Secret was allowed to release it, but couldn't mention any association with Matchbox 20 or use any photos of the band. To get around this, they put the names of the 5 members who recorded this (including Thomas) on the album cover.
The song was much slower when they first wrote it. When Matchbox 20 recorded their first album, they gave it a faster tempo.
This was Matchbox Twenty's second hit (after "Push"), and very important for the band because it proved they were not a one-hit-wonder.
Rob Thomas said at his 2006 Cleveland show with Jewel, "When I was younger I wrote songs all the time and at the time I thought they were great, but recently I looked at all the songs I wrote when I was younger and this was the first song I ever wrote that looking back on I still think is good." (thanks, Jen - Cleveland, OH)
Matchbox Twenty
Matchbox Twenty Artistfacts
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Comments (23):

"In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning." ~F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Debbie, Placerville, CA
Too bad Rob's mother died a couple of years ago. I really love this song.Peace...
- Jim, Long Beach, CA
Here is a link of the song, with the artist explaining where the song came from which was a time when his mother had cancer, and he was having to take care of himself and is mother at age 13.. And he wants everyone to use it in their own way and make it personal, a universal song.

link :
- Amy, middle of , TX
I noticed as I read these songfact they weren't 100% correct. I say this due to the fact the Lead Guitarist for Tabitha's Secret is/was Jay Stanley who is a friend of mine. And I was given a cd by him and it doesn't have the names of all 5 band members on the front. And that Jay had his name on the song and had them in court for over 3 years to win the court case and get what he was deserved (money and such). Jay was also the publisher of the Tabitha's Secret cd. He also told me that matchbox may use another song of Tabitha's. He now produces and records at his studio.
- Stephen, Salem, NH
i can definatly relate to his mother... because i had cancer...and it seems that everything would just be picture perfect if you were better...and sometimes i still blame myself for getting sick...even tho i didn't do it to just feels liek everything is my fault
- Madalyn, Greensburg, PA
the piano acoustic version is insanely sweet and a great lyrical dance if anyone in interested in that. except for the few wrong notes that they hit..
- Laura, St. Louis, MO
Didn't they get threatened to be sued by mattel toys for using the name matchbox 20 or twenty? either way i believe they changed the way they wrote their name to the present form to avoid getting sued.
- Edward, Miami Beach, FL
It makes me angry when people dis real singers while listening to artificial singers such as Cassie,Jon Secada,Cascada and others in the highly and overly produced category(add in Janet Jackson to that).not only is Rob Thomas my fav singer(MB20 my fav band)but 3am has to be one of the best written songs of all time.Though he's not with his Tabitha's Secret co-writers anymore,they get props too.So while some of the people out their are praising T.I. and Three 6 Mafia,they should think about a family member geting cancer and/or dying of a disease as such.....
- Mike, Wareham, MA
awesome song ...loved it as a kid still love it today.
- Madalyn, Greensburg, PA
charley you will never amount to one tenth of what rob thomas has accomplished. and shut up this song is about his mother coping with cancer when he was 12 you cannot even imaging what it would feel like if you were told your mother would die before you were 13
- Brandon, Sterling, VA
Rob Thomas performed a version of this on VH1 Storytellers. It is played on the piano and is slower. It's absolutely fantastic. Also the lyrics are slightly different.

She's got a little bit of something,
God it's better than nothing
And in her colour portrait world she believes she's got it all
She swears the moon don't hang quite as high as it used to
I think she's crazy
- TearsOfBlood, Nowhere That Concerns You
do you mean Henson?
- Mr. Pitters, Funky Touwn, CA
one of my favorite songs from matchbox twenty! it just makes you want to listen to it and think about its message.
- Brittany, Richmond, KY
There is a version of this song that is just piano and it's beautiful.
There is almost a mini "break down," and it's amazing.
- Ashley, Jackson, MI
why do there have to be so many different genres of rock such as "emo" and "punk". Why can't it all just be rock?
- Rick, humboldt, IA
i love mathbox 20 but i love emo too so i think we all need to stop the criticizing it's really annoying.
- Brittany, waverly, NY
sarah, Charlottesville, VA - Great comment!
- adrian, merthyr tydfil, AL
Kyle (the guitarist) sang in the background during the last part of the song...and he also sings the chorus on "Hang".
- Caitlyn, Midland, MI
Hey Charlie, don't complain about Matchbox Twenty unless you have a reason. Rob Thomas has a great voise for singing, but you must not realise it because you probably lock yourself in your room and listen to the Backstreet Boys and N'SYNC. Nevermind that, you are probably part of an Emo band.
- sarah, Charlottesville, VA
Rob decided to move out when he was seventeen because after his mother's cancer went into remission she took on a very free-spirited approach to life and he couldn't live with the constant partying and total disregard to anything resembling a normal life.

Charley, which band do you consider to be the best band of all time?!
- Caitlyn, Midland, MI
I think the lead singer of Hanson sang in the background during the last part of the song. "must be lonely...."
- Clint, KL, Malaysia
This is one of the worst bands of all time, and rob thomas' singing is more disgusting than taking a big gulp of curdled milk
- Charley, Lawrence, KS
There are two versions of this song on the tabitha's secret album: one is a slow accoustic version and the other is a slightly slower version. the lyrics are also slightly different near the end.
- Jen, london, England
We're sorry for the inconvenience. Comments are closed for update.
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