Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven

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"Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven"
Single by Kenny Chesney with The Wailers
from the album Lucky Old Sun
Released August 11, 2008 (2008-08-11)[1]
Format CD single
Genre Country
Length 4:17 (album version)
2:40 (radio edit)
Label Blue Chair/BNA
Songwriter(s) Jim Collins, Marty Dodson
Producer(s) Buddy Cannon, Kenny Chesney
Kenny Chesney singles chronology
"Better as a Memory"
"Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven"
"Down the Road"
"Better as a Memory"
"Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven"
"Down the Road"
Music video
"Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" on YouTube

"Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" is a country music song co-written by American songwriters Jim Collins and Marty Dodson. The song was initially to have been recorded by singer George Strait for his 2008 album Troubadour, but after Strait decided not to include the song on this album, it was recorded by Kenny Chesney instead. Released in August 2008, Chesney's rendition is his thirty-eighth Top 40 country hit and his fifteenth Number One hit. Chesney's version is the first single from his album Lucky Old Sun, which was released on his own Blue Chair label in association with BNA Records.

The song is part of the track list for Now That's What I Call Country Volume 2.

History and content[edit]

"Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" was co-written by Marty Dodson and Jim Collins, the latter of whom has previously co-written two other singles for Chesney: "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" from late 1999-early 2000, and "The Good Stuff" from mid-2002.[2] Initially, George Strait had recorded the song for his 2008 album Troubadour.[3] Although Strait's version did not make the album's final cut, he nonetheless made his own rendition available as a digital download.[4] Chesney then recorded his own version of the song, and released it as the first single from his studio album Lucky Old Sun, his first project for his personal Blue Chair label (in association with BNA Records, the label to which he has been signed since 1995).[5]

Chesney's rendition of the song is a mid-tempo, set in a calypso orchestration[2] with a slight reggae feel, and is backed by the The Wailers, who also sing the final chorus on the album version. Its lyrics find the narrator detailing his life to a preacher who has told him to forgo a lifestyle of drinking alcohol and pursuing sexual desires, in favor of a more religious-oriented style.[6] In the chorus, the narrator responds with "Everybody wants to go to heaven / But nobody wants to go now".


Matt C., a reviewer for the country music blog Engine 145, gave "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" a "thumbs down" rating. Although his review makes note of the song's "carefree sentiment that characterizes standards like 'Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young'", he considered the calypso orchestration "patently offensive".[3]

Alison Bonaguro, who contributes to the blog for the television network CMT, gave the song a more positive review. Although she referred to the instrumentation as "not-so-country", she described the song's sentiment favorably, comparing it to Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying", but without a "preachy feel".[6]

Kevin John Coyne, reviewing the song for Country Universe, gave it a B rating. He said the only problem with the song is the production. He went on to say "the calypso trimmings used to be a distinctive trademark of Kenny Chesney records, but by now, they’re a crutch." [7]

Music video[edit]

In August 2008, Chesney traveled to Jamaica to film the song's music video. The Wailers are featured in the video as well.[8]


"Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" debuted at number 22 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart dated for the week of August 16, 2008.[9] For the chart week of October 18, 2008, it has become his fifteenth Number One hit. The next week, its second and final week at Number One, the song was credited as "Kenny Chesney with The Wailers". Prior to this, it had been credited to Chesney alone.

Chart (2008) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[10] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[11] 41
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[12] 49

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2008) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[13] 15
Preceded by
"Don't Think I Don't Think About It"
by Darius Rucker
Billboard Hot Country Songs
number-one single

October 18-October 25, 2008
Succeeded by
"She Never Cried in Front of Me"
by Toby Keith


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[14] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Song charted before its announced release date.
  2. ^ a b "Kenny Chesney's New Single Arrives Aug. 10". CMT. 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  3. ^ a b C., Matt (2008-07-31). "Kenny Chesney - "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven"". Engine 145. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  4. ^ "New Kenny Chesney single also recorded by George Strait". Voice of Country. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  5. ^ "Kenny Chesney Finds "Heaven" in Blue Chair". Great American Country. 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  6. ^ a b Bonaguro, Alison (2008-07-30). "Calypso Works for Kenny Chesney’s “Heaven”". CMT. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  7. ^ Coyne, Kevin John (2008-07-30). "Kenny Chesney - "Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven"". Country Universe. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  8. ^ "Kenny's "Jammin'" with Bob Marley's Wailers". Great American Country. 2008-05-04. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  9. ^ "Kenny Chesney - "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven"". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-08-11. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Kenny Chesney – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Kenny Chesney.
  11. ^ "Kenny Chesney – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Kenny Chesney.
  12. ^ "Kenny Chesney – Chart history" Canadian Hot 100 for Kenny Chesney.
  13. ^ "Best of 2008: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2008. Retrieved December 13, 2008. 
  14. ^ "American single certifications – Kenny Chesney – Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 21, 2015.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]