Story Behind the Song: Rascal Flatts, ‘Bless the Broken Road’
Bobby Boyd, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Jeff Hanna and Marcus Hummon co-wrote "Bless the Broken Road" in 1994. NGBD were the first to record the tune, that same year, for their Acoustic album; Hummon released his own version of the song on his 1995 album, All in Good Time. But "Bless the Broken Road" really became a hit when Rascal Flatts released it in 2004.
The Flatts' version comes from their album Feels Like Today and spent five weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. The song has been certified platinum and earned a Grammy Award for Best Country Song. Below, Hanna tells The Boot about writing the tune.
In 1994, when Matraca [Berg] and I got back from our honeymoon, Marcus and I got together to write. Marcus' wife, Becca Stevens, had actually married Matraca and me. We got to talking about the circuitous route you take in life and how sometimes you think things are horrible and are never going to get better, but they lead you to something that ultimately is a lot better, whether it's a relationship, spiritual path, business or whatever.
He sat down and said, "I've got this idea," and he sang me this piano intro, which is essentially what you heard on the Rascal Flatts record. He had a little outline going already, and we wrote most of it in a couple of hours.
After that, Marcus said to me, "I got this inspiration from a conversation from a songwriter friend of mine named Bobby Boyd, and I think we should include Bobby as an author on the song."
Late winter of '94, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was doing the record called Acoustic in Colorado, and we recorded this simple, little song, and we have played it almost nightly since we recorded it.
Rascal Flatts toyed with recording it on their first album, and they put it on hold for their second album. It had over 150 holds, and it got to be a running gag with us. In 2004, Brooks & Dunn had it on hold, and they were about to cut it, and I found out Rascal Flatts finally cut it. Then we got a call that said, "Not only did we cut your song, but it's the next single!"
I've been involved in songs that were fun little ditties that went up the charts, but the permanent impact of this song has been amazing. The favorite songs that you write aren't always the ones that also become the highest profile, so it was a total thrill for us. It was great that it was a huge hit, and it was so great winning a Grammy, and we were so thrilled to be nominated in the all-genre Song of the Year, too, along with Bruce Springsteen, so we got really good seats at the Grammys! I'm super grateful.
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