Chicken Fried

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"Chicken Fried"
Chicken Fried Zac Brown Band.jpg
"Chicken Fried" cover
Single by Zac Brown Band
from the album The Foundation
ReleasedJune 16, 2008 (2008-06-16)
  • 3:58 (album version)
  • 3:38 (radio edit)
Zac Brown Band singles chronology
"Chicken Fried"
"Whatever It Is"
Music video
"Chicken Fried" on YouTube

"Chicken Fried" is a song by the Zac Brown Band, whose frontman Zac Brown co-wrote it with Wyatt Durrette. The song was first recorded in 2003 for the 2004 album Home Grown. A second version was then released in 2006 by The Lost Trailers, whose version was released as a single but withdrawn from radio. Two years later, the Zac Brown Band re-recorded the song and released it as the first single from their album The Foundation. In late 2008, it became their first chart single, as well as their first number-one hit on the Billboard country charts. The Zac Brown Band version was also featured in the 2008 film Witless Protection, starring Larry the Cable Guy.

The song has also been placed at number 39 for the Taste of Country's "Top 100 Country Songs of all Time" chart.


Brown began co-writing "Chicken Fried" with Wyatt Durrette several years before the song's release. The two met when Brown was playing at a tavern in Atlanta, Georgia. According to Country Weekly magazine, Brown had already started the song, when he and Durrette began listing off "things that are very southern or characteristic of the South to put into this song."[1] The song was completed gradually over several years. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Brown decided to add the third verse, which has a patriotic theme ("I thank God for my life / For the stars and stripes…").[1] Although he had already begun performing the song, he still considered it unfinished until he added a line to the second verse.[1] To the Zac Brown Band "Chicken Fried" was more than a song, it was a lifestyle. The patriotic theme and southern cuisine was the band's inspiration to record this song.[2]

The Zac Brown Band first recorded "Chicken Fried" in 2003 and later included this version on their self-released 2005 album Home Grown.[3] Later on, in 2006, The Lost Trailers covered the song as their first release for the BNA Records label, with Blake Chancey serving as producer. Although The Lost Trailers' version had entered the country charts, it was soon withdrawn from radio and replaced with "Call Me Crazy", as Brown had changed his mind about licensing the song to BNA.[4] "Call Me Crazy" then went on to peak at 43 in mid-2006. In the Nashville episode of Sonic Highways, Zac Brown explained the situation in greater detail:

We had this song Chicken Fried, we put it on a CD in '05. This band, The Lost Trailers had called and said "We want to record Chicken Fried." I was like "Well, I don't have a problem with you recording the song, but this is our song. As long as you don't release it to radio, if you want to have it on your record, I'm fine with that." Then they get a record deal through Sony with this dude Joe Galante, who like, runs Nashville, basically. He said "THAT'S the single." So The first time I hear "Chicken Fried" on the radio, it wasn't us singing it. It was like, my worst nightmare. So I call my lawyer and was like "Dude, the fucking song is on the radio," and then he says ya know, "Zac, what's the deal with this?" He's like, "You could get blackballed out of Nashville forever for not letting them record the song." I was like, ya know "Fuck that, the dude told me he wouldn't fucking do it, and then he did it!" So they had to call a cease-and-desist, they pulled it off the radio. I came to Nashville to play a show at 3rd and Lindsley and there was a dude in there, they were like "You know who that is? That's the dude that's had 40 Number 1's with Alan Jackson and he's like the dude, Keith Stegall. Keith had come out to hear me play. He sat down at the table, and he's like, ya know staring down at his drink and he said "I had to meet the kid that told Joe Galante to fuck off." And that was the beginning (of our relationship and commercial success).

— Zac Brown

In 2008, the Zac Brown Band re-recorded "Chicken Fried" for their fourth album, The Foundation, which Keith Stegall produced.[3] This re-recording was then released in mid-2008 as the band's first single, reaching Number One on the country charts in late 2008.

In 2009, Alan Jackson revealed that he was planning to record the song shortly before the Zac Brown Band version was released, but declined because he felt that he had too many other songs that mentioned food.[5]

Commercial performance[edit]

The Lost Trailers' version of the song reached as high as #52 on the Hot Country Songs chart in 2006 before being withdrawn as a single. The Zac Brown Band's version made its debut at #59 on the same chart for the week of June 28, 2008, peaking at #1 on the chart week of December 6. This song also made the Zac Brown Band the first country music group to reach Number One with a debut single since Heartland's 2006 Number One hit "I Loved Her First".[6] The song reached 4 million in sales in the United States by October 2013.[7] As of July 2017, the song has sold 4,913,000 copies in the United States.[8]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Zac Brown Band's version[edit]

The Lost Trailers version[edit]

Chart (2006) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[16] 52


  1. ^ a b c Conaway, Alanna (2009-02-09). "Story Behind the Song: Making the South Universal". Country Weekly. 16 (3): 14.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Wynn, Ron (2008-08-01). "Short Takes". Nashville City Paper. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  4. ^ Tucker, Ken (2006-03-15). "BNA Forced To Swap Trailers' Single". Radio Monitor. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  5. ^ Hackett, Vernell (June 26, 2009). "ALAN JACKSON 'CHICKENS' OUT". The Boot. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  6. ^ "Beyonce's 'Fierce' Debut Leads Pre-Turkey Day Chart". Billboard. 2008-11-26. Retrieved 2008-11-27.
  7. ^ Matt Bjorke (October 16, 2013). "Country Chart News – The Top 30 Digital Singles – October 16, 2013: Chase Rice Debuts #2 W/'Ready Set Roll'; Cassadee Pope, Chris Young & Blake Shelton's latest Nearly Gold". Roughstock.
  8. ^ a b "Nielsen SoundScan charts – Digital Songs – Week Ending: 7/6/2017" (PDF). Nielsen SoundScan. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 8, 2017.
  9. ^ "Zac Brown Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  10. ^ "Zac Brown Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  11. ^ "Zac Brown Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  12. ^ "Best of 2008: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2008. Retrieved December 13, 2008.
  13. ^ "Best of 2009: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2009. Retrieved December 13, 2009.
  14. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Zac Brown Band – Chicken Fried". Music Canada.
  15. ^ "American single certifications – Zac Brown Band – Chicken Fried". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  16. ^ "The Lost Trailers Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.