If I Were Rock & Roll

Album: yet to be titled (2021)
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Songfacts®:

  • "If I Were Rock & Roll" is a rare song Chase Rice wrote solo. He started it at his dining room table with nothing but a guitar and the line "if I were Jesus," inspired by Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You cut "If I Was the Priest."

    Rice didn't set out to write the song unaccompanied, but kept fine-tuning it until he ended up with a complete solo-penned track. The North Carolina native explained to Audacy: "Throughout this song I was thinking, 'Alright, who am I going to finish this song with?' And then I'd keep writing, keep chippin' away and it was like, 'alright I'm not finishing it with anybody,' I just finished it!"

    Rice released it as his first ever solo-written single on October 8, 2021.
  • Lyrically, the song pays tribute to some big influences in Rice's life. They include:

    The late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt.

    If I were a NASCAR man going 'round and 'round
    Yeah, you know I'd be number three


    The American flag and military.

    And if I were a Velcro stitched up stars and stripes
    You can bet I'd be flying proud
    Or pressed on the chest of America's best
    Putting bad dudes in the ground


    His grandfather.

    If I were a granddaddy rocking on a rocking chair
    I'd have a grandson on my lap


    And Johnny Cash.

    Hearing Johnny Don't Do That
    With a guitar strapped, I'd go all black
    Tell 'em all to kiss my ass

  • Rice told Audacy he took full advantage of writing solo to speak his mind. "I can say whatever the hell I want, which is what I did," he said. "It's all these things that are the best of the best; a grandpa and a grandkid, Johnny Cash giving the bird."
  • The girl he sings about in the chorus, bridge and outro is his 7th grade crush, Julie.

    And if I weren't a fool
    Girl, I'd still be with you
    Yeah, I'd still be with you


    Rice never got to date Julie because he was always too shy. She ended up moving away from North Carolina to Denver. "So, my 7th grade heartbreak made her way into my 2021 song," said the singer.

    He added to The Boot: "It's a very personal, real song to me, and yet how the song ends, with the one that got away, makes it one that I think a lot of people will relate to."
  • Rice linked up with producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Little Big Town, Brothers Osborne) for the song. Joyce augments the track with a glittering, Springsteen-esque production, befitting its original inspiration.

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