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When Michael Heeney stopped at his favorite Nashville restaurant and lounge 10 years ago, it was like any other night - except this night would lead to a No. 1 song!
"I was at Jimmy Kelly's, and this guy named Phil was in there all the time," recalls Michael. "Every time we'd go there, he'd be drinking pretty good. Then one night he was just sipping some water. And I said, 'What's wrong with you?'
"He just said, 'I went 10 rounds with Jose Cuervo last night.' And I immediately wrote it down."
Fast forward a few years to a writing session with Michael, Casey Beathard and Marla Cannon-Goodman.
"I remember Tim McGraw was looking for a party song," declares Casey.
"And I said something about us doing a drinking song," chimes in Marla, "because I remembered Michael had suggested we write this idea he had."
"Truth is," admits Casey, "Michael already had the melody and the One round with Jose Cuervo line in the chorus. We just kinda edited."
"They fixed it - and made it good," corrects Michael.
In the process, some never saw the light of day. "At first we had, After nine rounds with Jose Cuervo, I was down to that worm and about to give in," explains Marla. "Then I found out there's not a worm in Jose Cuervo, so we changed it."
While the trio had a great time writing the tune, there was some discussion about how far to go with the lyrics. "For the last verse, we thought the responsible thing to do was to include something about calling a cab," recalls Casey, "and the original demo mentioned that.
"But the song pluggers said, 'Man, we love your song, but what's with the cab? Get that out of there!' So we changed it, even though we thought it might be the kiss of death."
No worries. Tim McGraw put the song on hold, but then decided not to record it. Then Casey played it at a songwriters' night at Nashville's legendary Bluebird Cafe. "I hardly knew the song," he remembers. "But I had the words and chords written down. When I played it, the people just went crazy.
"Tracy Byrd came up afterwards and said, 'I'm gonna cut that song.' And about a week later, he cut it. It doesn't happen much that people say they're gonna do that - and then do it.
"But Tracy did" - and responsible Tracy even tacks on the line "Somebody call me a cab" in his live shows.
-- David Scarlett
"Ten Rounds With Jose Cuervo"
Written by Michael Heeney,
Marla Cannon-Goodman and Casey Beathard
Performed by Tracy Byrd
Well I walked in, the band just started
The singer couldn't carry a tune in a bucket
Was on a mission to drown her memory
But I thought no way with all this ruckus
But after one round with Jose Cuervo
I caught my boots tappin' along with the beat
And after two rounds with Jose Cuervo
That band was sounding pretty darn good to me
Then some stranger asked me to dance
And I revealed to her my two left feet
Said don't get me wrong, I'm glad you asked
But tonight's about me and an old memory
Then after three rounds with Jose Cuervo
I let her lead me out on the floor
And after four rounds with Jose Cuervo
I was showing off moves never seen before
Well at round five or round six
I forgot what I came to forget
After round seven, or was it eight
I bought a round for the whole dang place
And after nine rounds with Jose Cuervo
They were counting me out and I was about to give in
Then after ten rounds with Jose Cuervo
I lost count and started counting again
One round with Jose Cuervo
I went two rounds with Jose Cuervo
Three rounds with Jose Cuervo
TEN ROUNDS WITH JOSE CUERVO
Copyright (c) 2001 by Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., Sony/ATV Tunes LLC and Big Purple Dog Music. All rights administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, 8 Music Square West,
Nashville, TN 37203. All Rights Reserved.
Used by Permission.