Don't Take the Girl

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"Don't Take the Girl"
Tim McGraw - Dont Take The Girl cover.png
Single by Tim McGraw
from the album Not a Moment Too Soon
B-side "Welcome to the Club"
Released March 28, 1994
Format CD Single
Recorded 1993
Genre Country
Length 4:09
Label Curb
  • Craig Martin
  • Larry W. Johnson
Tim McGraw singles chronology
"Indian Outlaw"
"Don't Take the Girl"
"Down on the Farm"

"Indian Outlaw"
"Don't Take the Girl"
"Down on the Farm"

"Don't Take The Girl" is 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 his 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 charts as well and it was also a successful pop song, reaching number 17 on the Billboard 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 that 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 a fishing pole in her hand. Johnny doesn't 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, now as teenagers — the two have since fallen in love and are now dating. As Johnny and his girlfriend are on a date at the "picture show" (i.e., the movie theater), they encounter a lone robber with a gun. The robber grabs the girl and tells Johnny to give in to his demands. Johnny surrenders his money, wallet, credit cards, a watch that his grandfather gave him, and even his car keys so that the girl would be safe (in the music video, the crook's only seen running away with the wallet).

Verse three takes place five years after the second verse. At this point, Johnny and the girl are now (presumably) married and expecting their first child, and the girl is eventually rushed to the hospital to have her baby delivered. The baby (a boy) 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 that his wife survives, even asking that his own life be taken instead of his wife's as long as she's okay. The music video shows that Johnny's wife does indeed survive.

The song ends with a repeat of the song's opening line: "Johnny's daddy was taking him fishin' when he was eight years old".

Critical reception[edit]

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.[1]

Music video[edit]

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 certifications[edit]

"Don't Take the Girl" debuted at number 17 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks for the week of April 2, 1994.



  1. ^ Billboard, April 30, 1994
  2. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 2506." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. June 20, 1994. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  3. ^ "Tim McGraw Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  4. ^ "Tim McGraw Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  5. ^ "RPM Top 100 Country Tracks of 1994". RPM. December 12, 1994. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  6. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  7. ^ "Best of 1994: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1994. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "American single certifications – McGraw, Tim – Don%27t Take The Girl". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 5, 2015. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  9. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1994". Billboard. BPI Communications. 107 (3): 57. January 21, 1995. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 5, 2015.

External links[edit]