Throwback Jam: “Goodbye Earl”

It may seem crazy to follow up such a powerful number one song in “Cowboy Take Me Away” with a revenge seeking, upbeat song like “Goodbye Earl,” but it was the new millennium and that’s exactly what the Dixie Chicks did.

Just three months after releasing “Cowboy Take Me Away,” the trio released their 3rd single off the album Fly. The song only made it to #13 on the charts, but it is still as loved today as ever before.

The song was written by Dennis Linde (the same man who also gave us Callin’ Baton Rouge). Linde was a highly successful songwriter who had written a fair number of songs about a character named Earl. Most notable is Sammy Kershaw’s “Queen of My Double Wide Trailer” where Earl is the man trying to steal the protagonist’s girl. Linde decided it was time to kill of the Earl character for good so he wrote a song about two best friends: Mary Ann and Wanda.

The song was originally recorded by the country band Sons of the Desert but due to label issues “Goodbye Earl” never made it to the album and the Dixie Chicks claimed the song for themselves. Can you even picture anyone else singing it?

The music video captures the story of the song, by being somthing of a short film with the help of actresses Jane Krakowski and Lauren Holly as Wanda and Mary Ann, while Dennis Franz played Earl. It went on to win Video of the Year for both the ACM’s and CMA’s.

It’s been 19 years since the song made its way to country radio and you can’t help but wonder what Wanda and Mary Ann have been up to the last two decades.