Jason Aldean has made a career of finding left-of-center hits like "Dirt Road Anthem" and "Big Green Tractor." Now he's done it again with the very offbeat single "1994," a hip-hop influenced tribute to '90s hitmaker Joe Diffie.
The writers behind the song have penned big hits for the likes of Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood and many others, but they never thought anyone would record "1994" because it was so out there. One of the writers, Luke Laird, finally played it for Jason's producer, Michael Knox, and "1994" landed on Jason's Night Train album.
Jason tells Billboard, "You try and find all these great songs for the record, and they've got this little quirky song that's just kind of funny and that's the one that ends up being the big ol' monster hit. It's crazy how it works."
While in the studio recording "1994," Jason and his band kept things light and loose.
"It's not a masterpiece by any means," he says. "If you listen to the very end of the song, the band thought the tape was over. They figured it would fade out by then, so they're screwing around and we ended up keeping it in."
All the Joe Diffie references in "1994" have given the real Joe Diffie a little career boost. He's added the chorus of the song to his live set, and he's seeing a lot more college kids in his audiences.
Joe says, "I'm experiencing a bit of a renaissance here."
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