Throwback Jam: Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel”

By Emily Wagner

The journey of a song can never be predicted.

From an idea to being written, to being on an album to become one of the most successful singles of all time, it’s hard to imagine a world where Carrie Underwood’s smash hit “Jesus Take The Wheel” is never heard.

According to songwriter Brett James, who co-wrote the song with Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson, “Jesus Take The Wheel” was the very last song that made his 5 set demo session to pitch to artists. He had concerns that the song wasn’t going to resonate with an audience. It’s safe to say, 15 years later, after winning two Grammy awards and becoming #1 on the country charts, that the song may have related to just a few people.

Brett James had no idea the impact it would have not only on his career but Carrie’s as well, earning her the Single of the Year at the 2005 ACMs, Grammy’s for Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance. It was even ranked at #4 in the top 40 songs of the decade. When Sampson, Lindsey and James were working on a song back in 2005 with a title of “When Jesus Takes the Wheel” James didn’t know that he would be approached year after year by people who had similar experiences, who somehow escaped what should have been a deadly crash. 

The song became bigger than anyone expected it to be, especially coming from a new artist trying to find her way in the business. You can’t ask for a much better debut than “Jesus Take the Wheel.”