By Aaron Wagner
It’s the song that became Rascal Flatt’s first of many #1 songs, but it took awhile for the songwriter to come around on writing the idea for the song.
The first single released of their 2002 sophomore album Melt, “These Days” would reach the top of the charts that same year.
The song was written by Jefferey Steele (“The Cowboy in Me”, “Chrome”), Steve Robson (“What Hurts The Most”, “My Wish”), and Danny Wells (“Check Yes or No”, “This Everyday Love”), but we will focus on Steele’s account of writing the song.
The full version of the story can be found here but the story begins will a looped or demo CD that he was given. The CD was strictly instrumental and he was encouraged to write lyrics for a song that would fit those particular instrumentals, a new way of writing that was beginning to gain some steam in the early 2000s. Steele wasn’t a fan of the idea, grumbled about it, but pressed on.
“I wrote the whole song, hated it, and I didn’t have a title for it. At the very end of it, I sang it into the microphone, I went: ‘that’s what I’m doin’ these days’, and I threw it in there at the end.” He told the publishing company it was the most painful thing he’s ever been through, “Don’t ever make me do this again.”
He wrote the first verse on “These Days” about his own life but ran into a roadblock when he got to the second verse. “I pretty much covered everything I wanted to talk about in the first verse but I needed a second verse. I was writing in my old garage turned into an office and Larry King happened to be on TV. He was interviewing Jewel and she had just gotten married to Ty Murray a bull rider and I said ‘Jewel married a rodeo cowboy?’ It baffled me. Then I started spinning that idea in my head.”
Fast forward a few months and Steele gets the call that a new group by the name of Rascal Flatts was going to cut the song.
Interestingly enough, Rascal Flatts had thought they were finished with the Melt album but found out there was more money in the recording budget left so they cut two additional songs – “Love You Out Loud” and “These Days.”
“These Days” spent 3 weeks at the #1 spot.