I Wish

Album: Greatest Hits (2004)
Charted: 75

Songfacts®:

  • "Generally, my way of doing things is frantically trying to think of something to write on my way to my writing appointment," confesses songwriter Tommy Lee James, "so I don't have to go in empty-handed. That's basically my mode of operation." In the case of this song, he'd been rooting around in his brain for a way to write a turnaround hook a-la Diane Warren ("Because You Loved Me," "Un-Break My Heart"), and came up with the idea literally 5 minutes before his hand hit the door to the writing studio. "In Nashville, we're always looking for the way to turn a song around. But I don't do that much, I pretty much write really straight hooks."
  • James describes this song as a sort of inspirational take on the old Irish Blessing:

    "May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand."

    Only in this case, there a twist at the end of the chorus. Which is what James and co-writer Ed Hill were striving for, folded up in a "classic song that has some modulations in it."
  • Song writing in Nashville is a precarious course; writers have to develop incredible tenacity to be successful - and keep it that way. James laughs as he says, "It's best to work under pressure. I guess I'm different from a lot of Nashville writers where you write too many songs, and you're on this thing sort of like a hamster wheel. It's just hard to find time to sit down and go, 'Okay, I'm going to write a song about this; here's what I want to say.' I mean for me it just doesn't normally happen like that where there's like a puzzle story behind the song.
    I don't really have a story behind the songs in the classic sense like, 'Well, I was thinking about this when I wrote the song.' A lot of times I'll start out with a melody and maybe a title. And then, okay, what do I want to say? Where's this going? Where does this title lead me? Or this idea lead me? And just trying to take it from there, and trying to capture emotion rather than glory a lot of the times.
    Even though I've had most of my success in Nashville, I tend to come out of a little more of a Pop sensibility. Because that was always what I would listen to, and that was more my background. Some people here in Nashville are just complete genius storytellers. And I don't consider myself part of that group. Everybody sees themselves differently." (Check out our interview with Tommy Lee James.)

Comments: 1

  • Katy from Atkinson , NhLove this song
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