Brad Paisley landed his first number one song with “He Didn’t Have to Be” in 1999.
Brad co-wrote the song with Kelley Loveless, who is one of his best friends and has written numerous other #1 songs for Brad Paisley. The song is written from the perspective of a step-father and step-song relationship, something that was a new and unique idea when it comes to songwriting, particularly in country music. Loveless wrote from the heart on this song as he himself was a step-father to his son McCain.
Paisley ended up telling McCain, “We’re going to write a song about you and your dad that’s going to make your mother cry.”
I’m sure that was accomplished, but it’s an emotional song that can hit anyone right in the feels. Whether it’s a parent, sibling, spouse, or friend the overall message of sacrifice and unconditional love is a powerful message that makes this such a good country song. It’s what makes country music what it is. Everyone can take something away from this song, especially fathers and sons.
Brad has penned many of these types of songs over the years, but without this chart topper, we might have missed out on them.