I Loved Her First (song)

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"I Loved Her First"
Single by Heartland
from the album I Loved Her First
Released June 5, 2006
Format CD single
Genre Country
Length 3:38
Label Lofton Creek
Writer(s) Walt Aldridge
Elliott Park
Producer(s) Walt Aldridge
Heartland singles chronology
"I Loved Her First"
"Built to Last"

"I Loved Her First" is the title of a debut song written by Walt Aldridge and Elliott Park, and recorded by American country music group Heartland. It was released in June 2006 as the first single and title track from the album I Loved Her First. The song reached Number One on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts in late 2006.[1]


The song is a mid-tempo ballad in triple meter. In it, the male narrator is talking to the man who is about to marry his daughter, telling him that he is having difficulty giving her away because he "loved her first."

Critical reception[edit]

Deborah Evans Price, of Billboard magazine reviewed the song favorably, calling it a "beautifully written tearjerker that will hit home with dads everywhere who can't believe their little girls have grown up so soon." She calls Albert's performance "wonderful" and says that it "wrings every drop of emotion from the tender lyric."[2]

Erin Gloria Ryan of Jezebel included the song on a list of "The Worst Songs to Play During a Father-Daughter Wedding Dance". Accusing the band of "shameless Daddy Daughter Dance pandering", she stated that "The Jealous Country Dad is an entire subgenre of creepy Father-Daughter Dance songs, but this one, along with 'Butterfly Kisses', really sets the gold standard."[3]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Todd Schaffer and premiered in mid-2006. It features the group singing and a family at a wedding reception.

Chart performance[edit]

"I Loved Her First" debuted at number 57 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks for the week of July 8, 2006.

Chart (2006) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[4] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[5] 34
US Billboard Pop 100 56

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2006) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[6] 30
Preceded by
"Would You Go with Me"
by Josh Turner
Billboard Hot Country Songs
number-one single

October 28, 2006
Succeeded by
"Every Mile a Memory"
by Dierks Bentley