The Story Behind RHETT AKINS’ TOP 10 single “SHE SAID YES”
“Rhett had an artist development deal on Warner Bros. records with A&R staff member, Paige Levy. Sometime in 1993 or 1994. I had recently pitched songs to Paige for consideration to be recorded by members of her stable of artists. She liked one particular song “It Ain’t Easy Being Me” I had written with my friend Joe Collins. Paige kept the song in her “good songs” file to play for her artists in the future, who were searching for material. She played it for Rhett, he liked it, which led to our co-writing appointment at 1012 16th Avenue South, a short time later. The building was rented to The Malloy Boys, a co-venture with BMG, owned by Jim and David Malloy who had much success with producing Eddie Rabbit, Kenny Rogers, and Dolly Parton among many other hit artists.
Upon sitting down for our co-write, Rhett played me what he had started of what would become his Top Ten Single “She Said Yes”. I liked the verse he had begun and agreed the title of the song could provide us with a suitable destination for a good song. One of the most memorable moments in writing the song that day, was when I thought of the line; “they lit a flame with the match that God had made” to precede the hook; “…when She Said Yes”. I will never forget the look on Rhett’s face as he said to me “you Yankees are good for something.” This of course, because Rhett was from Southern Georgia and I, originally hailing from Rhode Island.
After completing the song, to celebrate, Rhett and I stopped into a Music Row watering hole called “Toucan’s”, which was located at 26 Music Square East, in the same building that would later house “Sammy B’s” and Figlio’s On The Row.” While there, we struck up a conversation with songwriting legend Harlan Howard, who proceeded to warn Rhett of the pitfalls of making a habit of stopping in for a “cool one” after co-writes too often. Rather ironic, considering Harlan’s frequency of haunting the same type of establishments for similar purposes. RIP Harlan.
After a short period of time we demoed the song and pitched it around a little. It was put on hold by legendary producer Jerry Crutchfield for his artist Tracy Byrd, who was at the height of his career at the time. As young writers we were obviously excited at the possibility of Tracy recording the song, but as often happens, he eventually passed on the song. In the mean time, Rhett had left his development deal with Warner Bros. and had secured a deal with the newly re-opened Decca Label, a subsidiary of MCA Records. Mark Wright produced Rhett’s album and “She Said Yes” was the 4th single released after two false starts and on the heels of his first radio hit “That Ain’t My Truck. “She Said Yes” was released in October of 1995 and eventually peaked in the Top Ten after six months on the charts in April of 1996.
Years later, I discovered that Clay Akins, the former American Idol contestant and successful recording artist had recorded a version of our song and submitted it to be considered for the show. Funny what you can find on YouTube.” -Joe Doyle ☺