Don't Take the Girl
|"Don't Take the Girl"|
|Single by Tim McGraw|
|from the album Not a Moment Too Soon|
|B-side||"Welcome to the Club"|
|Released||March 28, 1994|
Larry W. Johnson
|Tim McGraw singles chronology|
"Don't Take The Girl" is the title of a song written by Craig Martin and Larry W. Johnson, and recorded by American country music artist Tim McGraw. It was released in March 1994 as the second single from the album Not a Moment Too Soon. The song was McGraw's fifth single overall, and his first number-one single on the Hot Country Songs chart. It reached number one on the Canadian country chart as well and it was also a successful pop song, reaching number 17 on the Hot 100.
The song tells the story of two young lovers dealing with difficult scenarios at three different stages in their lives. In each situation, the man does all he can to make sure different people "don't take the girl."
In the first verse, the young man (Johnny) is eight years old, about to go on a fishing trip with his father. A young, unnamed girl, apparently Johnny's age, is also present, with fishing pole in hand. Johnny does not want the girl to come fishing with them. So he begs his father to "take any boy in the world / Daddy please, don't take the girl".
The song's second verse finds Johnny and the girl ten years later, as teenagers, and they have fallen in love with each other and are now going steady. As Johnny and the girl are leaving the picture show (movie theater) on their date, they encounter a lone robber. The robber grabs the girl and tells Johnny to give in to his demands. Johnny surrenders his money, wallet, credit cards, his grandfather's watch, and car so that the girl would be safe. (In the music video, the crook is only seen running away with the wallet.)
Verse three takes place another five years after the second verse. At this point, Johnny and the girl are now married, when the girl is rushed to the hospital to have her baby delivered. The baby is safely delivered, but the doctor informs Johnny that his wife is "fading fast" (presumably dying of childbirth complications). Johnny then collapses to his knees and prays to God, asking that his own life be taken instead of his wife's. In the music video, it is revealed that Johnny's wife and child both survive.
The song ends with a repeat of the opening line of the song: "Johnny's daddy was taking him fishin' when he was eight years old" leaving the listener with the impression that the cycle has begun to repeat itself.
Deborah Evans Price, of Billboard magazine reviewed the song favorably, saying that the song has the listeners "crying in their beer in the dancehalls down in Texas." Price goes on to say that once radio gets a hold of it, the song will take off. 
This was McGraw's second music video. It was directed by Sherman Halsey. It shows 5 actors, playing Johnny, his dad, the girl, the robber & the doctor. Intercut with McGraw, performing in front of dark blue lights.
Charts and sales
"Don't Take the Girl" debuted at number 71 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks for the week of April 2, 1994.
End of year charts
- Country music parodist Cledus T. Judd recorded a parody of the song, called "Please Take the Girl", on his 1995 debut album Cledus T. Judd (No Relation).
- Billboard, April 30, 1994
- "Tim McGraw Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Tim McGraw. Prometheus Global Media.
- "Tim McGraw Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Country Songs for Tim McGraw. Prometheus Global Media.
- "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- "American single certifications – McGraw, Tim – Don't Take The Girl". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 17, 2013. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
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