The Cheap Seats

Album: The Cheap Seats (1993)
Charted: 76

Songfacts®:

  • Never one to pass up a comic opportunity with his music, songwriter Randy Sharp says this one came about the very first time he co-wrote with Marcus Hummon. Because, says Randy, "Marcus IS that guy."
    During the course of polite diplomacies the morning the two met, Randy discovered Marcus was a diehard fan of the Nashville Sounds, their Triple A baseball club. Marcus, he says, "talked about going out there sometimes alone, being the only guy out there cheering, because he was such a fan. So we were laughing about the visual of this: two guys out there doing the wave by themselves, and yelling at the umpire. And the visual is so funny we just started jotting this stuff down. And the concept of the cheap seats – we weren't the first ones to come up with that – but it put our characters, these guys that never missed a game, in an appropriate kind of every-guy role, in those seats. And the fact that there's a bunch of people that are so supportive of the local boys that even if it's just a tie, they'll act like it was a win, and they'll go buy them pizza and beer." It's a real place and a real attitude out there, and when Marcus chimed in with his insight the writing just took off, and they were able to write it in one sitting. "Which is rare for me," confesses Randy. "It usually takes me several get-togethers to finish a song."
  • Sometimes in the Nashville songwriting circuit recording artists will hear a song they want to record and ask the songwriter - as a favor - to "hold" the song for them, because they'd like a shot at recording it. The trouble with this practice is that it can take literally years for the recording artist to actually follow through. Meanwhile, the songwriter is unable, through professional courtesy, to pitch that song to any other artists. "It's a real touchy thing with a lot of writers," Randy points out. Small wonder: the writer has no hope of making any money off the song unless and until the recording artist should decide to record it, or pass, at which point the writer can begin pitching it once again.
    This song, says Randy, "Took about a year, because it was first held and recorded by the Oak Ridge Boys, and not released. And that's something you get into sometimes, and that's why some songs take a long time. Often times if there's a label change, or just another song that comes along late in the project, your song gets bumped, or they don't like the way it came out, or there's a hundred reasons why songs don't make records. Well, in the meantime, a year's gone by and you haven't played it for anyone because you were holding it for them." However, "A lot of times you go ahead and play it for people – which is what we did – you play it with the caveat that the other artist has first dibs, but 'if you're excited I'll call you as soon as he or she passes on it.' So you still try to work around it, but you have to respect their claim on the song, if you think they may cut it." (Read more in our interview with Randy Sharp.)
  • The band goes to a baseball game in the music video, which was directed by the team of Deaton-Flanigen (Robert Deaton and George Flanigen). The clip was filmed at Engel Stadium in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and in Fort Payne, Alabama. The producing/directing team also helmed several other Alabama videos, including "I'm in a Hurry (And Don't Know Why)," "Angels Among Us," "It Works," and "Dancin', Shaggin' on the Boulevard."

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