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This Top 5 hit for Collin Raye could have been subtitled "A Tale of Two Cities" - that's because writers Karen Taylor-Good and Joie Scott were in two different places when they collaborated long-distance on the 1995 tune!
Joie was living in Chicago writing jingles for a major advertising agency when she began devoting her talents to a school for special-needs children. "I started to write a song for a film about the school," she says, "and I thought, 'If I were a handicapped child, what would I want to say to the world?' And I came up with the chorus, about how we are all not that different."
Joie then called her friend - and occasional songwriting pal - in Nashville, Karen Taylor-Good. "She wanted to know if her idea would make a good song," recalls Karen. "She read me the lines - I laugh, I love, I hope - and by the time she finished, I had goose bumps all over."
The two spent several sessions crafting the song - in person, commuting between Chicago and Nashville, and running up long-distance bills on the phone. "One of the first things we talked about was what kind of angle to come from," says Karen. "For commercial purposes, we both decided to make it about a relationship. We wrote the opening lines, She said we're much too different/We're from two separate worlds, and so on, together."
The song was sent to Collin Raye. "When I heard his version, I knew he was the right choice," recalls Karen. "And when Collin did the video, he insisted on focusing on people with differences. So the video actually tells the story that the song intended."
The song's success had a life-changing effect on Joie. After "Not That Different" cracked the Top 5, she started shuttling to Nashville more often. During those commuting years, she landed some cuts by Restless Heart, Anne Murray and other stars.
Nashville eventually snared a permanent resident - Joie made the move two years ago. And she definitely gives a nod to Karen for helping her land that first big song.
But Karen points to a third party for getting "Not That Different" literally off the ground. "I have always said that we should give Southwest Airlines co-writing credit," she laughs. "Their fares to Chicago were so cheap - they made it easy for us to get together!"
Story by Randy Rudder