1994

Album: Night Train (2012)
Charted: 52
  • Jason Aldean takes a comedic look back on his youth on this Thomas Rhett, Luke Laird and Barry Dean penned tune. "We've got a song on here that's called '1994' that is really unlike anything I've ever cut before," he told the Associated Press. "The object is to have people rolling on the floor laughing when they hear this thing for the first time. So it's almost like taking a little trip, a ride back to 1994 and some things that went on back then."
  • The song celebrates country hitmaker Joe Diffie, who was well known in the 1990s for his novelty songs and ballads. Aldean producer Michael Knox told Billboard magazine that as soon as he and the singer heard the demo of the song, "it was like, 'Dude, we have to cut this. This is the funniest, coolest thing I've ever heard.' Jason said, 'I know.'"

    "I was a junior in high school in '94," Aldean added, "and Joe Diffie was huge. I remember I went to the Cherry Blossom Street Party in Macon [Georgia], with Kenny Chesney on one stage and Joe Diffie on the other stage, and there was 5,000 people watching Joe Diffie and about 500 watching Kenny Chesney."
  • In a Songfacts interview with Barry Dean, he explained how this song came together: "Luke Laird and I write a lot together, and we were writing a lot with Thomas Rhett, the country artist. He's a wonderful writer and a wonderful young man. We had written all day on a very serious song. I don't know what it was called, but it was one of those country songs that addresses faith, values, life. It was meaty. We weren't quite done, and Luke had to go to a meeting pretty soon and so we were about to call it. And then Thomas said, 'Play one of your loops.'

    Luke always has a bunch of loops. Little drum loops and things like that. So he played something and TR started mumbling over it and I thought I heard him say, '1994.' Just the sound of it. I listen to vowels a lot. And I said, 'Did you say 1994?' And he goes, 'No, but my dad had a single on the radio in 1994.'

    Luke had on a Tracy Lawrence T-shirt, who was a '90s country artist, and Luke goes, 'Tracy Lawrence, 1994.' And I said, 'Nirvana is 1994.' And so, we're all throwing stuff out, that kind of deal. Then somebody else said Mark Chesnutt - we were just running through '90s people. And all of a sudden, somebody said Joe Diffie, and Luke went, 'Joe Diff-ay?' Like that. And we started going, 'Joe, Joe, Joe Diff-ay.' And then we started making jokes about it: 'Will the real Joe Diffie please stand up, please stand up.'"
  • Aldean's only concern was that some of his younger fans wouldn't understand the references to Diffie and the '90s singer's song titles. "There may be some younger fans that have to do some research and figure out who Joe Diffie is," he told Billboard, "but obviously people in the business know he's a great singer and one of the best vocalists we've had in this town in years."
  • So how does Diffie feel about the song? "Jason's found a really cool niche and he dang sure delivered on '1994'-big time," he told Billboard. "I mean, what else can you say but what an honor it is to have the larger part of a song reference songs of mine. To think all of Jason's fans will be chanting my name… pretty dang cool."
  • Aldean said: "Country music in the mid-'90s was a big influence on my career, and I played all the songs that are referenced in '94 back in my club days. Joe Diffie was rocking a sick mullet, and he was hotter than ever ... just putting out monster hit after monster hit. It totally takes me back to those days, and it makes me smile every time I hear it."
  • Rhett, Laird and Dean originally penned a slow song about two lovers in a favorite romantic spot, listening to Joe Diffie, on their boom box. It was Rhett's idea to include the "Joe, Joe, Joe Diffie" phrase at the end of the chorus, as he felt like the song needed a little something extra and it gradually morphed into a more upbeat tune with other references to the 1990s singer.
  • Once the three songwriters had written the song it quickly found its way onto Night Train. "It was one of those crazy things where we wrote it and demoed it, it was cut two weeks later and then it was on Jason's record," Rhett told The Boot. "Jason heard it when Luke was playing some songs for his producer, Michael Knox, at ASCAP, and he happened to stop by. He started listening to the songs that were being pitched for him, and I was told that '1994' was the only one he asked to hear again. The next day they told us he was cutting the song and it was going to be the third single off the record. I'm still soaking in the fact that Jason not only cut one of my songs but put it out as a single. It's been a really cool experience."
  • The music video for the song was directed by Wes Edwards and features co-writer Thomas Rhett, Nashville actress Hayden Panettiere, as well as country artists Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town, and Jake Owen.

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