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Song Start: “My List”

Song Start: “My List”

You hear about list songs all the time.

If you go to any NSAI meeting, eventually, a song type being taught will be “a list song.”

Of all the list songs, my favorite is “My List” because it tells you right up front: hey – I’m a song about a list.  No, really, just a list.

Unlike many others, it’s not a list of examples being used to create a really long simile. It’s the holy grail of list songs – my list. And what a great pronoun to use!

The song was considered not very clever or fresh by most who heard it in the industry, with a number of artists passing on cutting the single even after Toby Keith was doing the pitching!

Because he believed in the song, Toby Keith cut it himself. After making it’s debut at #59 the week of Christmas in 2001, “My List” went on to be #1 on the country charts and held the spot for 5 weeks.

Written by Rand Bishop and his long-time co-writer and friend Tim James, the seed of the song began with a simple, declarative statement by Tim James in the attic studio of Rand Bishop’s rental home: “I make a list of things to do everyday.”

This was two years before Toby Keith cut it, after both had been dropped by their publishing companies.

By the time Toby Keith took it into the studio, Rand Bishop had moved on to selling financial planning services. Tim James was painting houses and writing.

 

Toby Keith “My List”

 

 

They wrote most of the song during their session that day, and the next day made one big lyric change: finalizing the line “Why put off till tomorrow what I could get done today?”

Initially they were trying for a more clever way to say it, something unusual and fresh, then “settled”. Sometimes simple is just better. The line resonated with listeners.

Maybe it was timing (just after 9/11) and/or the fact that the song used something everyone could relate to that made it so powerful. After all, everyone has a to-do list that drives their lives – but what about living? Do you ever put that on the list.

Sometimes being “fresh” and “clever” while commercial may not be the right thing for the song. They wrote the truth, and people identified with it. There’s nothing more marketable than that!

An almost uncut single, “My List” stands as a testament to the statement “good things happen to good songs.”

Looking for more about the song?

 

“My List” Lyrics

 

VERSE

Under an old brass paperweight is my list of things to do today:
Go to the bank and the hardware store, put a new lock on the cellar door.
I cross ’em off as I get ’em done, but when the sun is set
There’s still more than a few things left I haven’t got to yet . . .

 

CHORUS

Go for a walk, say a little prayer,
Take a deep breath of mountain air;
Put on my glove and play some catch,
It’s time that I make time for that.
Wade the shore and cast a line,
Look up a long lost friend of mine;
Sit on the porch and give my girl a kiss.
Start livin’, that’s the next thing on my list!

 

VERSE

Wouldn’t change the course of fate if cuttin’ grass just had to wait.
‘Cause I’ve got more important things, like pushin’ my kid on the backyard swing.
I won’t break my back for a million bucks I can’t take to my grave.
So why put off for tomorrow what I could get done today?

 

CHORUS

Like go for a walk, say a little prayer,
Take a deep breath of mountain air;
Put on my glove and play some catch,
It’s time that I make time for that.
Wade the shore and cast a line,
Look up a long lost friend of mine;
Sit on the porch and give my girl a kiss.
Start livin’, that’s the next thing on my list!

 

CHORUS

Raise a little hell, laugh ’til it hurts,
Put an extra five in the plate at church;
Call up my folks just to chat,
It’s time that I make time for that.
Stay up late, then oversleep,
Show her what she means to me;
Catch up on all the things I’ve always missed –
Just start livin’, that’s the next thing on my list.

 

OUTRO

Under an old brass paperweight
Is my list of things to do today.

 





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