December

Album: Collective Soul (1995)
Charted: 20

Songfacts®:

  • Collective Soul was a loose collective build around lead singer Ed Roland when their song "Shine" got the attention of Atlantic Records in 1994. The label signed the band and pushed the single, which took off, sending them on a whirlwind journey that found them on the road for about eight months. During this time, there was tension within the band and between Roland and their manager, Bill Richardson. This all inspired the song "December," which Roland wrote.

    He explained in a Songfacts interview: "We were going through a tough time with our first manager, and I just felt like at the time, a lot of stuff happened really quickly. You've got to remember, we had a hit song before we had a label or even a true band. So, that relationship started to deteriorate. And while we were in the studio, it came pretty natural. I just wanted to talk about how I felt I was being used and whatever I did was not good enough ever."

    After the album was released, the band got into a legal tangle with Richardson that froze their earnings and took over a year to resolve.
  • The song is called "December" because that's the last month of the year. Ed Roland wanted to signify an ending, but wanted something more poetic and abstract than "The End" or "Finale."
  • At first, the song didn't have a title. Roland told Songfacts: "That's the only song the band did not like. When I presented it to them, they hated it, to be honest with you. I talked them into it, we recorded it, and they did want the title in there somewhere, so I came up with the bridge, just to put 'December' in there. But it was basically a relationship breakup."
  • The timing was a little off on this one: the album was released in March 1995, and the song peaked in September. By December, it had fallen off.
  • "December" landed on the charts about a year after Collective Soul's breakout hit, "Shine." Both songs went to #1 on the Billboard Album Rock chart (later renamed Mainstream Rock). This was a time when hip-hop and R&B were dominating pop radio; many stations went in a different direction and played more rock-leaning songs by the likes of Green Day and Pearl Jam. Collective Soul found a welcome home on these playlists.

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