Grown Men Don't Cry

Album: Set This Circus Down (2001)
Charted: 25

Songfacts®:

  • This Tom Douglas and Steve Seskin penned number was the first single from country music singer Tim McGraw's seventh studio album, Set This Circus Down. The song topped the country charts for one week and also peaked at #25 on the Hot 100.
  • Tom Douglas told The Boot the story that inspired this song:

    "I had gone to the grocery store one day, had parked my car and was walking into the store when I saw this woman talking on a pay phone. She had mascara tears running down her face, and her little boy was weaving in and out of her legs while she was talking on the phone... and she looked like an ice cream cone, melting.

    I went in the store, got my groceries, came back out, and wondered what happened to them. And then I passed by a car, and they were in it. And in the back of the car were newspapers and Chef Boyardee cans.

    And I thought, what should I do? And I did nothing except get back in my car and go home. And I was haunted by my paralysis and inability to do anything about that. And that feeling started this song when I sat down to write with Steve.

    I had that first verse, and actually the second vignette was more Steve's life than it was mine... about putting the rose on the grave and talking to the wind. And then the third verse was kind of a combination of both of our lives, but being tied together by singing, 'don't know why they say grown men don't cry.'"
  • So many things I want to say to him
    I just placed a rose on his grave and I talked to the wind


    The second verse came from Steve Seskin's world. Speaking to Bart Herbison of Nashville Songwriters Association International the songwriter explained that he and his father had a poor relationship and they didn't talk for almost three years when he was in his early 20s. Then just when they were going to have that "let's mend fences" conversation, his dad died from a heart attack.

    Seskin added that the lines "I put a rose on his grave, and I talked to the wind" actually happened to him. "I stood by my father's grave in Queens, New York, and had the mend fences talk that we had never had in real life," he said. "So that was the verse that killed me."
  • The song resonated with Tom McGraw as he grew up believing his stepfather, Horace Smith, was his dad. It wasn't until he was 11 that he discovered his biological father was in fact Major League Baseball player Tug McGraw. Seskin said: "The second verse really hit him in a way because he grew up not knowing (Tug McGraw) was his dad, and then they got very close later in life."

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