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Godspeed (Sweet Dreams) by Dixie Chicks

Album: HomeReleased: 2003
  • A heartbreaking lament to his son, this was written by Radney Foster, who told us that the story behind the song is one of the toughest situations in which a parent can be put. Says Foster: "Yeah, my oldest boy, Julien... his mother and I separated when he was very young, and divorced. And things were as good as can be expected in those kinds of situations. We were both trying very hard to be good parents. But she re-married a guy from France, and immigrated to France with my son... to 5,000 miles away. He was 5. Which led to all kinds of things; big court battles, all kinds of things. A big mess. And when I had lost, and knew that there was nothing else I could do to try to keep him closer to home, and he was going, I wanted something that he could take with him, that he would know that I loved him. And so I wrote that little lullaby, and I put it on cassette 5 times in a row. He had a little Fisher Price big button thing that he could listen to at night, and to his mother's credit, she let him. I recorded it in my home studio with just me and my guitar, and I thought that would be the last time I ever recorded it.

    "And so I guess about a year after that, my manager and his wife were going to have a baby, and I said, 'Hey, let me play this song that I wrote for Jule, I forgot, I'll put on a cassette for you guys.' And I played it for him and he just wept. He said, 'That's one of the most powerful things you've ever written in your life.' He says, 'You have to put that on a record.' I said, 'Yeah, but it's a kid song." He said, 'I don't care what kind of song it is. It's an unbelievable song. It's got to go on your next album.' And so I did. I ended up putting it on See What You Want To See, the same record as 'Raining On Sunday.' Emmylou Harris sang on it, and that was just a real, real thrill. And then years later, when the Dixie Chicks cut it, and Jule was, I want to say 10 or 11, they had kind of said, 'Will you come by? We're mixing it, and we wanted you to hear it.' And I'd run into one of them in town, and I said, 'Well, Jule's in town, and he would love to hear that thing.' And they said, 'Great.' So unbeknownst to me, they're freaking. They're terrified that he won't like it. So we were all sitting in chairs, and they were behind me, I could see them. We got through the first chorus, and my son got up out of his chair and got over and got in my lap. This is a 10-year-old boy, way too big to be in Daddy's lap. But it was a real, real sweet moment."
  • Foster: "The cool thing about that song is I can't tell you the number of people who contacted me in the most unbelievable ways about how that song has touched their lives. Whether it's played at the funeral of a child they lost, or I've had guys come up to me at shows with their hair cut high and tight and say, 'Mr. Foster, I just spent a year and a half in Iraq, and every time I got my kids on the phone I sang that song to them.' I mean, it's been a really powerful, emotional experience for me."

    Foster's not sure whether or not his son still has the cassette, but he says, "I bet it's in his room in France, probably, somewhere, yeah." (Check out our full interview with Radney Foster.)
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Comments: 3

I have been a Dixie Chicks fan for pretty much all my life the they have been a group and i have been born. I mean when there Fly concert was in Austin, Texas, lets just say that is the only concert i have ever been to in my life and i am 23 almost 24 years old. well i heard this song and had to find out the meaning behind it so i researched it and comes to find out it is kind similar to my story. i sing karaoke every thursday in a little town called walburg, texas and Godspeed is a new song added to my list of songs to sing and i dedicate it to my two boys that i don't get to see or talk to. i wish i had the talent of write music i only got the talent of singing it. this was a beautiful song and i cry at the end of singing it myself everytime. thank you for giving me the chance of finding the song i have been searching for for so so so long.Dakotah - Georgetown, Tx
My uncle commited suicide last month, June 2011. We played this along with other song at his memorial service. There was so much sadness that day but I know he's in a better place.Zoe - Windsor, Ca
My best friend lost her 4 year old grandson in Oct 2009. The mother picked to play the Godspeed song at her sons wake. It was most touching song I have ever heard. It moved the 200 people who came to the wake. There was not a sound in the room. The mother walked over to the tiny casket and bowed over it and say this song in a hushed tone. 200 people sat and cried. This song expressed the feeling of the entire family and all the friends. This passing is still fresh in our minds and in our hearts. I thank you for writing this song and touching so meny lives.Krisite Long - Saucier, Ms