If I Die Young
|"If I Die Young"|
|Single by The Band Perry|
|from the album The Band Perry|
|Released||May 7, 2010
(see release history)
|Length||3:43 (Country album version/music video)
3:35 (Pop version/music video)
|The Band Perry singles chronology|
"If I Die Young" is a song written by Kimberly Perry, and recorded by American country music group The Band Perry. It was released in June 2010 as the second single from the group's self-titled debut album, which was released on October 12, 2010.
"If I Die Young" is a mid-tempo tune accompanied by acoustic guitar, banjo, accordion, mandolin, fiddle, electric bass, and drums. It is in the key of E Major. The song is about the sadness of dying young ("The sharp knife of a short life") as the narrator describes how she never really got to experience love and worrying about how her loved ones will miss her and deal with the loss. She recognizes that once someone passes away, others seem to pay more attention to that person's life: "And maybe then you'll hear the words I been singin' / Funny when you're dead how people start listenin'." She states that if she dies young, then her family left behind should "save their tears" for a time when "they're really gonna need them." She states that she has had a well-lived life in the line "Well, I've had just enough time."
Bobby Peacock of Roughstock spoke positively of the lyrics, saying that they were "very well-developed with interesting little details." He felt that, although the topic is "a little sugarcoated", the vocal performance is a "pleasant listening experience".
The Band Perry received at least one letter in response to the song. In its envelope, the members also found a necklace with a ring on it. The letter's author was a young girl who had recently lost her best friend to cancer. Mourning her friend's death, the girl was contemplating suicide. Driving from work one day, she heard "If I Die Young" on the radio. Hearing "so much life in the song", the girl changed her mind. In her letter to The Band Perry, she wrote about the necklace: "I'm sending this to you, because it's the most important thing I own. This song literally saved my life."
"If I Die Young" debuted at number 57 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for the week of May 29, 2010. It also debuted at number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of July 24, 2010. In October 2010, it became the group's first Top 10 single on the country chart as well as their first Top 20 on the Hot 100. The song became their first Number One hit on the country charts for the week of December 11, 2010.
In early 2011, the song was remixed by Matt Ward and Dean Gillard for pop music radio. The remix debuted at number 36 on the U.S. Billboard Pop Songs and number 29 on the U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary chart for the week of June 11, 2011. With the remix impacting pop radio, the song re-entered the Hot 100 at number 46 for the week of June 25, 2011. It has since reached a new peak of number 14.
In May 2011, the song sold over 2 million copies, the eleventh country song to do so, and only the fourth time that a band reached this plateau, following Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band and Rascal Flatts. At the time, "If I Die Young" song was the highest-selling single to miss the top ten, and as of August 24, 2015, "If I Die Young" surpassed 5 million downloads.
In July 2011, the song reached the Top 15 of the Billboard Hot 100 in its thirty-fifth chart week, making it the slowest climb into the Top 15. It broke the slowest climb record that was previously held by Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats", and Taylor Swift's "Teardrops on My Guitar". Both songs took thirty-three weeks to reach the Top 15. The song spent 53 weeks on Billboard Hot 100 and is their best selling single to date.
The music video, which was directed by David McClister, premiered on CMT on May 27, 2010. In the video, the band is shown setting Kimberly Perry in a canoe before pushing it off into the river. Perry is holding a book containing poems by Tennyson, including The Lady of Shalott, which the book is opened to at the end of the music video. The video echoes a scene in Anne of Green Gables in which Anne attempts to appear as the Lady of the poem. Kimberly's mother and her love interest (played by Kyle Kupecky) are shown plucking flower petals and visibly depressed that she has left them. Eventually, her canoe begins to take on water,she sits up. Once this occurs her brothers come back for her. When she gets back to her house, her mother and love interest embrace her. The video was filmed on location at Two Rivers Mansion outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Throughout the video, the band is also shown performing with their instruments inside of the house.
In popular culture
In 2013, Naya Rivera performed the song as her character Santana Lopez in the fifth season tribute episode "The Quarterback" of the television series Glee, in honour of Cory Monteith, who played character Finn Hudson on the show. The song peaked at number eighty-eight on the UK Singles Chart.
Charts and certifications
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||80,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||6× Platinum||5,000,000|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
Awards and nominations
|2011||53rd Grammy Awards||Best Country Song — "If I Die Young"||Nominated|
|Academy of Country Music Awards||Single Record of the Year — "If I Die Young"||Nominated|
|Song of the Year — "If I Die Young"||Nominated|
|2011 Billboard Music Awards||Top Country Song — "If I Die Young"||Nominated|
|CMT Music Awards||Video of the Year — "If I Die Young"||Nominated|
|Group Video of the Year — "If I Die Young"||Nominated|
|USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year — "If I Die Young"||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Music: Country Single — "If I Die Young"||Nominated|
|Inspirational Country Music Awards||Inspirational Video — "If I Die Young"||Nominated|
|Country Music Association Awards||Single of the Year — "If I Die Young"||Won|
|Song of the Year — "If I Die Young"||Won|
|Music Video of the Year — "If I Die Young"||Nominated|
|June 7, 2010||United States||Country radio|
|May 24, 2011||Mainstream Top 40|
|February 24, 2012||United Kingdom||Digital download|
- List of number-one country singles of 2010 (U.S.)
- List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 2011 (U.S.)
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