STORY BEHIND THE SONG ... "T-R-O-U-B-L-E"

Written by Jerry Chesnut -- Performed by Travis Tritt

T-R-O-U-B-L-E" spelled "H-I-T" twice for songwriter Jerry Chesnut. The rollicking, rocking song about a barroom entertainer cracked the Top 15 for Elvis Presley in 1975 and again for Travis Tritt in 1993.

"Some people thought I had written it about Elvis," notes Jerry, who penned the hit in 1975. "But it was really about a guy named David Wilkins, who used to play at Ireland's restaurant in Nashville in the '70s."

David performed under the name "Little David Wilkins," although he was anything but diminutive, weighing in around 280. Though he enjoyed mild recording success, he desperately needed that one big smash.

"He asked me ... actually he bugged me," Jerry laughs, "to write him a hit. So one morning, I started thinking about him and the place he was playing. David was a great showman - he played piano like Jerry Lee Lewis and he'd go out on the dance floor and get right in the middle of everyone. I thought I'd just paint a picture of that and see where it would get me."

Jerry fell into "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" by calling on his own past experiences. "I'd played enough bars and clubs to know that when you're up there on the stage, you can see trouble starting," explains Jerry with a booming laugh. "You see everything on that dance floor - jealousy, anger, fights.

"I also knew," Jerry adds, "that when a good-looking woman walks into a place like that - alone - there's usually trouble. With all that running through my mind, I just kept on writing."

And as he wrote, he came up with a bright idea - completely by accident. "I was writing down the word 'trouble,' spelling it out, and I started seeing it as individual letters," recalls Jerry. "Then I spelled out 'a-l-o-n-e' and ' l-o-o-k-i-n-g,' and they all rhymed! I thought, 'Well, this is fun!' But it wasn't something I had set out to do. That's just how it came out."

The song ended up with two slightly different versions. "Elvis kept 'piano' in the first verse, which is how I'd written it," reveals Jerry. "When Travis recorded it, he changed it to 'guitar.' I think both of them did fantastic jobs."

But what about its original target, David Wilkins? "He asked me one time why he didn't get to record the song," admits Jerry. "I told him the truth - because Elvis wanted it!"

-- Bob Paxman

"T-R-O-U-B-L-E"
Written by Jerry Chesnut
Performed by Travis Tritt


Well, I play an old guitar from nine to half past one
I'm just tryin' to make a living
Watching everybody else having fun
Well, I don't miss much
If it happens on a dance hall floor
Mercy, look what just walked through the door

Well, hello T-R-O-U-B-L-E
Tell me what in the world you're doin' A-L-O-N-E?
Say, hey good L-double O-K-I-N-G
Well, I smell T-R-O-U-B-L-E

I was a little bitty baby when my papa hit the skids
Mama had a time tryin' to raise nine kids
She told me not to stare 'cause it was impolite
She did the best she could to try to raise me right

But Mama never told me 'bout nothin' like Y-O-U
That your mama must have been
Another good-looking honey too
Well, hey good L-double O-K-I-N-G
Well, I smell T-R-O-U-B-L-E

Well, you're a sweet-talkin',
Sexy-walkin', honky-tonkin' baby
The men are gonna love you
And the women gonna hate you
Reminding them of everything they're never gonna be
May be the beginning of World War III
'Cause the world ain't ready for nothin' like Y-O-U
I bet your mama must have been
Another good-lookin' mama too

Say, hey good L-double O-K-I-N-G
Well, I smell T-R-O-U-B-L-E

T-R-O-U-B-L-E Copyright (c) 1975 Sony/ATV Songs LLC. All Rights Administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, 8 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203. International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved

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