STORY BEHIND THE SONG ... 'SWINGIN'"

Written by John Anderson and Lionel Delmore -- Performed by John Anderson

Sometimes great songs take a lifetime to write, while others need only 15 minutes. And then there are times, as legendary songwriter Harlan Howard once pronounced, when songs take "a lifetime, plus 15 minutes."

John Anderson and Lionel Delmore, the son of country pioneer Alton Delmore, languished in that latter category with "Swingin'." They started writing the tune in late 1977 - and finished it in 1982!

"The song was actually Lionel's idea," explains John. "We'd been writing together pretty regularly, and one day he calls me up and says that he has the first line for a song. He called it 'Swinging.' We sat down and wrote the first two verses that morning, but we never did get it quite like we wanted, so we put it away."

The song resurfaced in 1982 as John searched for material for an upcoming album. Lionel reminded him of their earlier effort, "Swinging."

With a broad grin, John recalls the conversation. "He said I ought to do that song, and I told him I would except for one thing - it's still not finished. Then, Lionel comes back with, 'Well, let's finish it.' And I said, 'Well, it's kinda late for that. The recording session is today.' But the thing was," adds John with a laugh, "I really did need a good up-tempo number on the album."

They decided to give it one last try, which resulted in a hilarious, mad scramble.

"I told Lionel that I would just scribble down a last verse, then we could change it later if we needed to," John recalls. John went about his scribbling in the only place available - the recording studio's snack bar!

"I got out a pen and paper and wrote down, Now Charlotte she's a darling, she's the apple of my eye, and the rest of the verse," he laughs. "And we never changed a word."

The only minor alteration was John's pronunciation of the title, in which the final "g" was dropped in his trademark drawl.

For a song that was frantically rushed out at the last minute - after being in limbo for so long - its impact was timeless. John released the single in January 1983, and it raced to No. 1 in March.

What's more, "Swingin' " won the 1983 CMA Award for Single of the Year. To this day, it's still considered John's signature tune.

-- Randy Rudder

"Swingin' "
Written by John Anderson and Lionel Delmore
Performed by John Anderson

There's a little girl in our neighborhood
Her name is Charlotte Johnson
And she's really looking good
I had to go and see her
So I called her on the phone
I walked over to her house
And this was going on

Her brother was on the sofa
Eating chocolate pie
Her mama was in the kitchen
Cutting chicken up to fry
Her daddy was in the backyard
Rolling up a garden hose
I was on the porch with Charlotte
Feeling love down to my toes

And we were swingin', yeah just a-swingin'
Little Charlotte she's as pretty
As the angels when they sing
I can't believe I'm out here
On her front porch in the swing, just a-swingin'

Now Charlotte she's a darling
She's the apple of my eye
When I'm on the swing with her
She makes me almost high
Charlotte is my lover
She has been since the spring
I just can't believe it started
On her front porch in the swing
Just a-swingin', yeah we were swingin'

Little Charlotte she's as pretty
As the angels when they sing
I can't believe I'm out here
On her front porch in the swing, just a-swingin'

I said, Little Charlotte she's as pretty
As the angels when they sing
I can't believe I'm out here
On her front porch in the swing, just a-swingin'

SWINGIN' Copyright (c) 1982 Irving Music, Inc. (BMI) All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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