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Jeffrey Steele thinks back to autumn 1997 and still hears Al Anderson's words ringing in his head. "Make sure you come back," Anderson told him, "with a good idea." Jeffrey was driving in to Nashville to write with Al, and the closer he got to town, the more nervous he became - for good reason.
"I had no ideas and I was worried about what Al might have to say. He is a very intimidating guy!" Jeffrey says with a laugh. The two have also collaborated on "Big Deal," which became a LeAnn Rimes hit, and Tim McGraw's "The Cowboy in Me."
As he drove further into town, Jeffrey began tapping anxiously on the steering wheel. "I was knocking out a groove, so I started making up words to it as fast as I could," he remembers. "I was singing - huggable, kissable, lovable, unbelievable. There was no melody, I was just singing to that thing I was tapping."
When it came time to write with Al, Jeffrey had to 'fess up. "I told him I didn't really have any ideas," says Jeffrey, "but I was doing this thing on my steering wheel and it goes like this ..." The wheels in Al's head began spinning immediately.
Sparked by Jeffrey's kissable, huggable idea, Al started writing, She's unpredictable, she's available, practically completing the first chorus. As hours passed, they came closer to wrapping up the song - except for one word!
They couldn't finish the second verse without filling in the line, She's so beautiful, it's undisputable, it's undeniable, it's ... Jeffrey and Al looked for the answer in every conceivable spot, including rhyming dictionaries.
Finally, Al came up with the missing link. Jeffrey recalls, "He looks at me and says, 'Got-to-havable.' I just laughed and told him that's not a word. And Al says, 'Well, it is now.' That became the coolest word in the song."
After that "unbelievable" writing session, Al and Jeffrey pitched their tune to Diamond Rio. "The next thing I know," says Jeffrey in amazement, "it's going to be the title of their album."
The single shot to the Top 5, and eventually fell one slot short of No. 1. But Jeffrey wasn't disappointed. "I was just trying to come up with an idea," he laughs. "I was trying to save my butt, you know? But it turned out to be a pretty cool thing."
-- Alanna Horner