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Ten years ago, Brad Paisley won a performance spot in a student concert while attending Nashville's Belmont University. The stakes were high as Music Row record executives were going to be in the audience, and Brad wanted a lighter-hearted song to balance his repertoire of sad ballads.

"I knew we needed to add something upbeat," says Brad, "so the audience wouldn't kill themselves!"

Fellow student Frank Rogers, who went on to produce Brad's albums, agreed. "I told Brad, 'These are great songs, but we're going to put everyone to sleep!'" recalls Frank. "Let's write something that will make them laugh."

So Brad pulled out an old tune, "Fisherman Bob," that he'd written in high school. "The song was about a guy named Bob who runs off with a friend's girlfriend," says Brad. "The friend says something to the effect of 'I'm sure gonna miss Bob.' I thought it was kind of funny."

"We talked about the concept," explains Frank. "Then Brad said, 'I love her, but I love to fish' - and the rest just came out."

As they were finishing the tune, the songwriters wondered if the theme - choosing fishing over love - might offend some women. "We wondered if we could do this," says Frank, "and decided to go for it."

Brad's audience went for it in a big way when he played the song at the showcase. After launching into the first chorus, he saw people laughing and cheering.

"I knew I had something!" laughs Brad. "It touched a nerve with guys - and women, too."

Though it was one of his favorites, Brad resisted the urge to put "I'm Gonna Miss Her" on his first album. "The record company wanted it on," explains Frank. "But we didn't want him to be seen as a novelty act. We thought that song was better for a more established artist."

In fact, big stars - including Garth Brooks, George Strait and Alan Jackson - indicated that they wanted to record it. But after Brad's first album sold so well, he decided to keep the song for himself. Good thing - it went on to become a chart-topper.

"Alan had called and said, 'Hey, are you going to let me have that fishing song?'" says Brad. "I told him, 'Hell, no!'"

- M.B. Roberts

To read the lyrics of "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)", pick up your copy of Country Weekly on newsstands now!