I Can Sleep When I'm Dead

Album: Waitin' in the Country (2007)
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • 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."
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