In December of 1998 the Dixie Chicks released their 4th single from their Grammy winning album Wide Open Spaces.
The deeply personal, “You Were Mine” quickly became the group’s 3rd number one song and there is a strong case that without this song, the Dixie Chicks would never have become the band that dominated the country charts in the late 90’s early 00’s.
The song was written years earlier, in 1995 by Martie Maguire and Emily Robinson, sisters, who comprised 2/3 of the band. They wrote the song about their parents and the hardships of their separation and eventual divorce. When recording a demo of the song that summer, Maguire and Robinson took the advice of producer Lloyd Maines, to have his daughter, Natalie Maines, come in and sing the lead. Apparently at the time the actual lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, Laura Lynch was out of town. However, it may be due to the fact that as a band the Dixie Chicks were looking to expand out of their Bluegrass bubble and a voice like Maines, was exactly the pop and country mix they were needing.
When the trio that we know as the Dixie Chicks today were putting together songs for their first album, which would become Wide Open Spaces, the only song they knew that was going to be on the album was “You Were Mine.” Although they had successful songs before and many more after, “You Were Mine” was the catalyst that solidified the Dixie Chicks’ place in country music.