I Can Sleep When I'm Dead

Album: Waitin' in the Country (2007)


  • This song tells the story of a young cubicle-dweller who lives life to the fullest, staying out all night and never refusing a party. It all comes at the expense of sleep, but he feels the nightlife is worth the daytime drowsiness, which can be cured with Visine and Red Bull. "I can sleep when I'm dead" is his credo.

    For Carroll, the song had a very different inspiration. The title phrase is something he heard hard-working farmers say when he was growing up on a tobacco farm near Raleigh, North Carolina. When he wrote the song, he was thinking about his own life at the time; he was sleep-deprived because he was splitting his time between a full-time job, his four children, and his music.
  • Carroll wrote this song with Jim Collins and Rivers Rutherford. Collins' credits include "Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven" by Kenny Chesney and "Big Green Tractor" by Jason Aldean; Rutherford co-wrote several songs for Darius Rucker, and the Brooks & Dunn hit "Ain't Nothing 'Bout You."

    At the songwriting session, Carroll and Collins talked while Rutherford took a phone call. When Carroll told him about his hectic schedule, Collins asked Carroll when he slept. His reply: "I can sleep when I'm dead."

    "When I said it, his eyes lit up," Carroll said in his Songfacts interview. "He's like, 'Dude, we're writing that today!' So Rivers got off the phone, and he's like, 'Let's come up with an idea,' and Jim and I are like, 'We've already got one.' So we started it, and that song took off."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Cheerleaders In Music VideosSong Writing

It started with a bouncy MTV classic. Nirvana and MCR made them scary, then Gwen, Avril and Madonna put on the pom poms.

Peter LordSongwriter Interviews

You may not recognize his name, but you will certainly recognize Peter Lord's songs. He wrote the bevy of hits from Paula Abdul's second album, Spellbound.

U2 LyricsMusic Quiz

How well do you know the lyrics of U2?

When Rock Belonged To MichelobSong Writing

Michelob commercials generated hits for Eric Clapton, Genesis and Steve Winwood in the '80s, even as some of these rockers were fighting alcoholism.

Adam Young of Owl CitySongwriter Interviews

Is Owl City on a quest for another hit like "Fireflies?" Adam answers that question and explains the influences behind many others.

Music Video Director David HoganSong Writing

David talks about videos he made for Prince, Alabama, Big & Rich, Sheryl Crow, DMB, Melissa Etheridge and Sisters of Mercy.