Written by Mike Reid and Craig Wiseman
#1 (2 weeks)
October 25 – November 1, 1997
Radio & Records
#1 (2 weeks)
October 10 – October 17, 1997
Tim McGraw tops both charts with his best single yet.
The Road to No. 1
“It’s Your Love” kicked off a string of five No. 1 singles from Everywhere that continued with its title track.
The No. 1
Before “Everywhere,” McGraw’s best single released to radio had been the heart-wrenching ballad, “Can’t Be Really Gone,” which was a good lyrical match for his still-developing vocal delivery.
“Everywhere” requires something entirely different from him: understated, restrained emoting that doesn’t get in the way of the lyric. He simply could not have pulled this one off on his previous album, but as I’ve noted before, Everywhere was exponentially better than his previous efforts. Now he was not only commanding the best material in town, but also delivering it as well as any of his contemporaries.
This is a lonely, wistful song about a man giving up on his companion to chase a dream, only to be haunted by her memory at every turn. We get a coast-to-coast tour reminiscent of Trisha Yearwood’s “On a Bust to St. Cloud” journey across the country, but this time, our narrator brought the loneliness upon himself, and he takes full responsibility for it: “You and I made our choices all those years ago. Still I know I’ll hear your voice and see you down the road.”
It’s his best moment to date, and he’s going to top it with his very next single.
The Road From No. 1
Three more No. 1 singles are on tap from Everywhere, and two of them are now bona fide country classics. We’ll cover the first of them next.
“Everywhere” gets an A.
Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties
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This is the Tim McGraw I can get behind. His vocals serve the story and are no longer a distraction out front of the lyrics. I admire his hushed restraint. The production perfectly captures both the exhaustion and excitement at detailing all the places he has “seen” his lover since they made their choices.
“Down in Georgia/ Pickin’ them peaches” is oddly the most memorable line from the song for me. It’s a partner to “Had a BBQ stain on my white T-shirt.” I think of “Everywhere” as the peach song.
This is step one in my Tim McGraw conversion experience!
Without a doubt, one of my top favorite Tim McGraw songs of all time. If it weren’t for the next single after this one, it would easily be my number one McGraw song. Which of the two I rank at the top tends to change from time to time and may depend on which one I listened to last, lol.
It’s amazing how far McGraw had come and how much he’d grown as an artist and vocalist up to this point in his career when comparing it to his earlier albums and singles. “Everywhere” is most definitely the best single he’d released to radio yet, and it’s arguably still one of his very best, imho. I love how he started approaching his ballads from this point, sort of like singing them like a lullaby closely into the microphone, and this approach is showcased even further on the album’s fourth single. The backing track is also flawless with excellent fiddle and steel guitar work. I’ve especially always enjoyed Sonny Garrish’s steel guitar parts in this track. I love how the both the fiddle and steel reflect the excitement of all the places the narrator’s traveled to in the choruses, and how haunting and tense the instrumentation sounds during the song’s second verse as he realizes what’s done is done and that he’ll always be haunted by his past love and what could’ve been wherever he goes. Even the long instrumental ending is so enjoyable and mesmerizing, and you can picture the clear blue skies and sunsets of all the places he’s sung about as it goes on.
What I’ve always loved most of all about “Everywhere” though, besides being another great lost love ballad, is the cross country journey the choruses take you on. That combined with the breezy melody and production of the choruses makes it a great listen whenever you’re driving down a long stretch of road on a scenic route. It’s such a perfect road trip song! And sonically, I also love how it’s once again a perfect mix of traditional and contemporary country styles. Not only do I hear this as a late 90’s neo-traditional ballad, but it also reminds me of something that Glen Campbell might’ve done, as well. It just amazing that it was only in the late 90’s that you could actually still hear songs that sounded this good and written this well on the radio from one of the latest hot, younger male stars of the genre.
The “Everywhere” video is also my personal favorite video from Tim McGraw, and it’s also probably the most beautiful and visually stunning one he’s ever done. While the lyrics make you picture all the places he mentions when just listening to the song, the video makes it all come to life perfectly. I just love all of the beautiful locations featured throughout the clip! I especially always thought the shot of Tim hanging on to the windmill was so friggin’ cool! Never has a song and video been so perfectly matched, imo. And one more thing, I absolutely LOVE that signature wide brim black hat that he wore in the 90’s and early 00’s. I much prefer that hat to the more beat up, plastic looking one he switched to around 2003/2004.
The first time I ever heard “Everywhere” was near the end of the Maine vacation that my parents and I went on in August of 1997. We were on the way back home traveling down a long stretch of road in Connecticut, I believe, with a lot of beautiful green scenery around us. It was being played as part of one of those “knockout rounds” between two new releases that many stations used to do back then. “Everywhere” was played first and the challenger was Clint Black’s brand new release, “Something That We Do.” The station was slowly fading and the radio wasn’t turned up very loud, but I still got to hear both songs and some of the listeners calling in to pick their favorite of the two. I really enjoyed “Everywhere” and at the time I liked it more than Black’s song (I enjoy both songs about equally now). The most memorable part that stuck with me at the time was “Arizona, dancin’ ‘cross the desert.” I just overall enjoyed the listing of different States in the choruses and its beautiful melody. The station faded out before I got to hear which song won, but it was about neck in neck, with enthusiastic calls coming in for both songs, and about halfway through the round, I recall one of the DJ’s dramatically saying something like “Clint Black is having a lot of trouble with Tim McGraw!” lol.
Of course, I got to hear “Everywhere” plenty more times after we got home, and it especially brings back so much nostalgia for me of that late Summer/early Fall period in 1997 when I was beginning middle school and the 6th grade. I even remember it popping up in my head during my Social Studies class one day when we did a little project involving the 50 States with one of my classmates talking about Arizona, which is where she was from. That’s just one of many examples of how the mentioning of Arizona always made me think of this song, lol. “Everywhere” also brings back wonderful memories from when my mom, dad, and I started going to Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, VA regularly every Sunday during the Fall of 1997. There are still times recently that when I hear this song, I still picture myself walking through that mall in 1997 with all the stores and decorations I remember from back then. :)
Another reason the “Arizona” line always stood out to me back then was because it reminded of one of the fictional characters from Tekken 3, Paul Phoenix. Tekken 3 was yet another game I was totally into by mid-late 1997, lol.
Everywhere is also still my personal favorite Tim McGraw album, and it’s amazing how long of a span of singles it produced from early 1997 to early 1999. And every one of them are winners. My personal favorite non-singles on the album are “I Do, But I Don’t,” “Ain’t That The Way It Always Ends,” and “You Just Get Better All The Time.” He did truly hit his stride with this album, and it still sounds great to my ears today!