More Than a Memory

Album: The Ultimate Hits (2007)
Charted: 53

Songfacts®:

  • This tale of heartache and pain debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Song charts in September 2007, the first song to do so in its history. The previous highest debut had been Kenny Chesney's "Don't Blink," which debuted at #16 the week previously.
  • Once upon a time there were three songwriters. One had a melody, one an idea, and one liked words that have a nice sound. Fast forward a few months later, and Country Music icon Garth Brooks lit up the powder keg and rode it straight up the Country music charts, earning himself a new best friend in songwriter Billy Montana.
    Billy tells the story: "Lee Brice and Kyle Jacobs really had been mulling that idea over, and had a whole bunch of the melody done. They knew what they wanted to do conceptually. And when they ran the idea past me, I was like, Heck yeah. When I start writing, I like words that sound good together, and 'more than a memory' just sounded so good together that I knew that there would be something there. And so that was one of those cases where I think a lot of it was Lee really dipping back into a relationship like that, and he had the line, 'when you're dialing six numbers just to hang up the phone.' And Kyle and I, we all knew that that was kind of a magical line. And that happens every once in a while when you're writing. It's like it goes above and beyond. And having discussions with Garth – you know, my new best friend Garth – when we were getting together celebrating the success of the song and everything, he said that was the line that drew his attention more than any other. So anyway, that song was written in about a day. And so my contribution was mainly from a lyrical standpoint, because they had done a really good job of forming that melody, which I thought was phenomenal. But the fun thing about it is we had the verse in the first chorus, and John Ozier from Curb Records stepped in to tell us something, and we said, 'Hey, check this out,' played him the verse and the chorus, and he says, 'I've got chills. You need to finish that today.' I mean, he was just like, 'That is extraordinary.' So we did. We stayed in the saddle. And it's funny, because I felt like we worked pretty hard on it, and Lee was like, 'Oh, I don't know about that.' (laughs) You know, he doesn't remember. Some days you're really pouring yourself into it, and I remember pouring myself into it, and we just felt like we had something really great afterwards."
  • Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, and some of Carrie Underwood's camp had expressed interest in this song. But Garth was the heaviest hitter. And besides, he he was first. Billy Montana explains: "The way it came about was that a guy named Scott was listening for songs over at Garth's management company, and he just put out an APB to some of his closest publishing friends, and Curb Publishing sent the song over to him. And Scott got back to him and said, 'You mean this hasn't been cut yet?' And they were like, 'Nope.' And he was like, 'I'm putting it first on the CD to Garth.' And so that's what he did. Kyle and Lee had put down a really nice piano/guitar vocal. No background vocals. Lee sang it, he's an amazing passionate singer. And that's all Garth heard, was that guitar/piano vocal."
  • When it comes to the recording artist, Billy tries not to involve himself on that level, although he can. About the choice of recording artist for this song, he explains, "It's just that when somebody the caliber of Garth Brooks is interested in it, and there was a real good chance it was going to be a single because we knew that there was going to be a greatest hits package that he was putting out, and so to be a new cut on a greatest hits package increases your chances of getting a single, which is what you really want. So I don't think we would have messed with that stew pot at all. I think everything happened the way it was supposed to."
  • Garth Brooks was not the person the writers had in mind when they wrote this song. In fact, they didn't have anyone in mind. But the fact that Garth picked it up meant much more to them than a strictly success standpoint. "The first time I wrote with Lee was probably, I don't know, five years ago," says Billy. "And he was an artist fresh to town and I had asked him, 'What do you want to be as an artist?' And he said, 'Garth Brooks.' (laughs) So that totally was a dream come true for him to get to have all of that happen with a song he wrote."

    "And Garth was so gracious through the whole process. My understanding is that he recorded it on June 5, which was great, because it was my wife's birthday. And then he had us in the studio I'm thinking maybe about 5 or 6 weeks later. Invited all the writers to the studio to hear it. And we sat down at the console, and he says, 'I hope you like it. If there's anything you don't like, let me know.' And of course I'm thinking, Yeah, that's gonna happen. As soon as it started, if you can imagine what it would be like hearing Garth's voice coming in on a song, and the way he sang it, and the strings coming in, and the power when it crashes into the second verse, I knew right then, I mean, what I said in my mind was, That's why you're Garth Brooks. I mean, really, I was just so impressed. And so it gets to the end, and I was like, 'Well, I need to hear it again.' It was really a special day." (Read more in our interview with Billy Montana.)

Comments: 2

  • Zach from Marion, InI would give anything in the world for Garth Brooks to make a come-back. He's the best musician to ever touch a stage. This song really made me believe a comeback is on the rise..if not, Good Ride Cowboy!!
  • Robert from Los Angeles, Cathis is a great song. i don't have anyone like this, but it still makes me sad, cause i know people who do.
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