A Broken Wing

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"A Broken Wing"
McBride - Broken Wing Valentine single.jpg
Single by Martina McBride
from the album Evolution
B-side Valentine"[1]
Released September 8, 1997
Format CD single
Length 3:35
Label RCA Nashville
Songwriter(s) Phil Barnhart, Sam Hogin, James House
Producer(s) Paul Worley, Ed Seay
Martina McBride singles chronology
"Still Holding On"
"A Broken Wing"
"Still Holding On"
"A Broken Wing"
Music video
"A Broken Wing" at CMT.com

"A Broken Wing" is a song written by James House, Sam Hogin and Phil Barnhart, and recorded by American country music singer Martina McBride. It was released in September 1997 as the second single from McBride's album Evolution. In January 1998, "A Broken Wing" became McBride's second Number One single.


Written in key of B major with a vocal range of two octaves from F3 to F5, "A Broken Wing" has a 12
time signature.[2] The verses use a chord progression of I–ii–IV–I three times, followed by I–ii7–IV–V–I; the refrain uses vi–iii7–ii7–I followed by I–ii7–IV–V–I.[2] Instrumentally, McBride's 1998 version features acoustic guitar, electric guitar, pedal steel guitar, piano, bass guitar and drums.


In the song, the narrator recounts a young woman escaping from an emotionally abusive relationship.[3] Regarding the second verse, wherein the husband finds "a note by the window / and the curtains blowin' in the breeze," the authors of the book My Country Roots wrote that the song's conclusion could be interpreted to indicate that the woman has committed suicide or that she has escaped.[4]

Producer Paul Worley told Billboard magazine in 1998 that the track, except for the backing vocals, was recorded in one day, while other tracks on the album were recorded in pieces over time.[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Robert Deaton III and George Flanigen IV, also collectively known as Deaton-Flanigen Productions. The video features McBride singing the song at the Croft House in the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. Interspersed throughout the clip is a woman locked in an abusive relationship with her husband. While making dinner, the husband complains about the salad she made for him. Later, when the woman is on the phone, her husband interrupts the call. Eventually, the wife gets up out of the bed and the husband goes upstairs, only to find a note left by his wife. When the husband looks out of the window, he discovers that she is gone.

It was nominated for Music Video of the Year at the 1998 Country Music Association awards.[6]

Other versions[edit]

Jordin Sparks covered the song on her 2007 EP Jordin Sparks. Her version of the song made number 66 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Chart positions[edit]

"A Broken Wing" debuted on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) charts dated for September 13, 1997. The song spent twenty-five weeks on that chart,[1] peaking at number one on the charts dated for January 10, 1998.

Chart (1997–1998) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[7] 17
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 61
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[9] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1998) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[10] 60
Preceded by
"Longneck Bottle"
by Garth Brooks
Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks
number one single

January 10, 1998
Succeeded by
"Just to See You Smile"
by Tim McGraw


  1. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 262. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  2. ^ a b Contemporary Country (1 ed.). Hal Leonard Corporation. 1999. pp. 26–30. ISBN 0-634-01594-X.  The sheet music is in C major, with a note that the song is recorded a semitone lower than written.
  3. ^ Fillingim, David (2003). Redneck liberation: country music as theology. Mercer University Press. p. 129. ISBN 0-86554-841-2. 
  4. ^ Randall, Alice; Carter Little; Courtney Little (2006). My Country Roots: The Ultimate MP3 Guide to America's Original Outsider Music. Thomas Nelson, Inc. p. 92. ISBN 1-59555-860-8. 
  5. ^ Cromer, Ben (18 April 1998). "Of His Many Hats, Producer/Exec Paul Worley Prefers His Guitarist Cap". Billboard. 
  6. ^ Hurst, Jack (21 September 1998). "COUNTRY PICKS PREDICTING THE OUTCOME OF WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S CMA AWARD". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  7. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 3400." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. November 24, 1997. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  8. ^ "Martina McBride Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "Martina McBride Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  10. ^ "Best of 1998: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1998. Retrieved July 14, 2013. 

External links[edit]