Jesus, Take the Wheel

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"Jesus, Take the Wheel"
618px-Jttw single frontcd.jpg
Single by Carrie Underwood
from the album Some Hearts
ReleasedOctober 3, 2005 (2005-10-03)
Genre
Length3:46
LabelArista
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Mark Bright
Carrie Underwood singles chronology
"Inside Your Heaven"
(2005)
"Jesus, Take the Wheel"
(2005)
"Some Hearts"
(2005)
Music video
"Jesus, Take the Wheel" on YouTube

"Jesus, Take the Wheel" is a song written by Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson, and recorded by American country music artist Carrie Underwood. It was released in October 2005 as the first single from Underwood's debut album Some Hearts (2005). The ballad tells of a woman seeking help from Jesus in an emergency and surrendering control to a higher power.

"Jesus, Take the Wheel" became the first of Underwood's record-setting 15 number-one singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs[A] chart, spending six weeks at the number one position. The song enjoyed crossover success, peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart and charting on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. It also became a top twenty hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Jesus, Take the Wheel" has sold over 2.743 million copies in the United States as of February 2016 and has been certified three-times Platinum by the RIAA.

Underwood has performed "Jesus, Take the Wheel" during multiple awards show appearances and has included the song on the set list for all of her headlining concert tours. "Jesus, Take the Wheel" won the Grammy Awards for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song and it won Single of the Year at the 2005 Academy of Country Music Awards, amongst other nominations at these and other award ceremonies. The song ranked number four on CMT's "40 Greatest Songs of the Decade".

Composition[edit]

"Jesus, Take the Wheel" is a Christian country song that lasts for three minutes and forty-six seconds. The song is composed in the key of A major and is set in the time signature of 4/4 common time with a moderately slow tempo of 76 beats per minute.[2] Underwood's vocal range spans over two octaves from F3 to G5.[2]

The song was written at co-writer Hillary Lindsey's house and is centered around the premise of what happens "when Jesus takes the wheel," a phrase Gordie Sampson brought to the writing session as a possible title.[3] Lyrically, the song tells the story of a woman who survives a car crash, seemingly as part of a miracle of divine intervention.[3] Personal stories from the writers' pasts influenced details of the song's lyrics.[3] Upon the song's release, some critics questioned the marketability of launching Underwood's career with an overtly faith-based song.[4][5]

Critical reception[edit]

In a review of Some Hearts, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic praised Underwood's delivery of the song, writing that she "sounds equally convincing on such sentimental fare as "Jesus, Take the Wheel" as on the soaring pop "Some Hearts.""[6] In 2013, Matt Bjorke of RoughStock ranked "Jesus, Take the Wheel" as the tenth-best song of Underwood's career at that point, writing that that song "show[ed] the strength of her voice through complex vocal runs and tender verse readings."[7] On a similar ranking in 2017, Chuck Dauphin of Billboard placed the song as Underwood's fourth-best song to date.[8] Rolling Stone ranked the song as Underwood's eighth-best, based on a reader-voted poll, in 2015 and wrote that "as Underwood's vocals soared into the stratosphere during the track's final chorus, so did her career."[9]

Charts performance[edit]

"Jesus, Take the Wheel" debuted at number 39 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and eventually hit number one in January 2006, becoming the first of Underwood's record-setting 15 number-ones.[10] The song spent six weeks atop the chart.[1] "Jesus, Take the Wheel" additionally peaked at number four on the Hot Christian Songs chart and at number 23 on the Adult Contemporary chart. This crossover airplay helped the song reach the upper tier of the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it reached a peak position of 20. "Jesus, Take the Wheel" also hit number one of the Canadian country airplay chart compiled by Radio & Records.[11]

"Jesus, Take the Wheel" has been certified three-times Platinum in the United States as of August 2015.[12] The Mastertone of the song was also certified Platinum in July 2008, making Underwood the first country artist to have two songs reach this milestone (after "Before He Cheats").[13][14] As of February 2016, "Jesus, Take the Wheel" has sold 2,473,000 copies in the United States.[15] In 2007, "Jesus, Take the Wheel" was certified Gold by Music Canada.[16]

Live performances[edit]

Underwood gave her debut performance of the song at the 2005 Country Music Association Awards.[17] On May 23, 2006, she again sang it at the 41st annual Academy of Country Music Awards, where she won the Single of the Year Award for the song. Billboard described the latter performance as "captivating".[18]

In April 2006, she sang it on the CMT Awards, where "Jesus, Take the Wheel" won two major awards: Breakthrough Video of the Year and Female Video of the Year.

Underwood performed the song during her debut tour: Carrie Underwood: Live in Concert, and has subsequently performed the track in all of her tours as well as during her sets at the CMA Music Festival, Stagecoach, C2C: Country to Country and Glastonbury festivals.

Music video[edit]

The music video was Underwood's first and was directed by Roman White. It features her singing in various backgrounds such as a living room, through shelves, standing by a wall, and sitting in a chair. A woman, a young couple, and an older couple are all shown through the video trying to ease a baby, fighting over bills and making up, and trying to feed his wife respectively.

The music video for it was originally slated for release on November 4, 2005 but was delayed and made available at a later date on Yahoo! Launch.

"Jesus, Take the Wheel" was nominated for Music Video of the Year at the 2006 Country Music Association Awards and was ranked No. 64 on CMT's 100 Greatest Videos.[19]

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2005–2006) Peak
position
Canada Country Top 30 (Radio & Records)[11] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[20] 20
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[21] 23
US Christian Songs (Billboard)[22] 4
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[23] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2006) Position
US Billboard Hot 100[24] 78
US Christian Songs (Billboard)[25] 11
US Country Songs (Billboard)[26] 5

Certifications and sales[edit]

Country Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA) Digital: 3× Platinum[12]
Mastertone: Platinum[13]
3,000,000/2,473,000[15]
Canada (Music Canada)[16] Gold 5,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Result
2006 Academy of Country Music Single of the Year Won
2006 Song of the Year Nominated
2006 Country Music Association Music Video of the Year Nominated
2006 Single of the Year Nominated
2006 Song of the Year Nominated
2006 Canadian Country Music Awards SOCAN Song of the Year Won
2006 CMT Music Awards Female Video of the Year Won
2006 Breakthrough Video of the Year Won
2006 Gospel Music Association Country Song of the Year Won
2007 Grammy Awards Best Female Country Vocal Performance Won
2007 Song of the Year Nominated
2007 Best Country Song Won

Notable covers[edit]

Cultural references[edit]

The song is mentioned by title in eighteenth episode of the third season of The Big Bang Theory.[28]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ At the time of the song's release, the airplay chart on which this record is held was known as Hot Country Songs; the current chart with that name is now a multi-metric ranking.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jessen, Wade (October 16, 2012). "Up And 'Away': Carrie Underwood Crowns Country Airplay Chart". Billboard. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Carrie Underwood "Jesus Take the Wheel" Sheet Music". MusicNotes. Sony/ATV Music Publishing. June 7, 2006. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Conaway, Alanna (April 7, 2013). "Story Behind The Song: Carrie Underwood - "Jesus Take The Wheel"". RoughStock. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  4. ^ Junod, Tom (December 9, 2009). "Carrie Underwood: What I've Learned". Esquire. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  5. ^ Thompson, Gayle (January 21, 2019). "Country Music Memories: 'Jesus, Take the Wheel' Hits No.1". The Boot. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  6. ^ "Some Hearts - Carrie Underwood | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  7. ^ Bjorke, Matt (January 15, 2013). "Roughstock's 10 Best: Carrie Underwood Songs (From 2005-2012)". RoughStock. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  8. ^ Dauphin, Chuck (June 25, 2017). "Carrie Underwood's 10 Best Songs: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  9. ^ "Readers' Poll: 10 Best Carrie Underwood Songs". Rolling Stone. March 10, 2015. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  10. ^ Asker, Jim (July 19, 2016). "Carrie Underwood Rings in 15th Country Airplay No. 1; Sam Hunt Earns High Five". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 20, 2016. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  11. ^ a b Radio & Records Magazine (PDF). Radio & Records. January 20, 2006. p. 46. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "American single certifications – Carrie Underwood – Jesus, Take the Wheel". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  13. ^ a b "American single certifications – Carrie Underwood – Jesus Take the Wheel". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  14. ^ Betts, Stephen L. (September 1, 2008). "Carrie Underwood Rings Up Another Million-Seller". The Boot. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Bjorke, Matt (February 22, 2016). "The Top 30 Digital Singles: February 22, 2016". RoughStock. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Canadian single certifications – Carrie Underwood – Jesus, Take the Wheel". Music Canada. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  17. ^ "Carrie Underwood".
  18. ^ Malone, Chris (November 9, 2017). "Carrie Underwood's 12 Most Dynamic Awards Show Performances". Billboard. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  19. ^ "100 Greatest Videos". Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved July 29, 2008.
  20. ^ "Carrie Underwood Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  21. ^ "Carrie Underwood Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  22. ^ "Carrie Underwood Chart History (Hot Christian Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  23. ^ "Carrie Underwood Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  24. ^ "Hot 100 Songs - Year-End". Billboard. 2006. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  25. ^ "Hot Christian Songs - Year-End". Billboard. 2006. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  26. ^ "Hot Country Songs - Year-End". Billboard. 2006. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  27. ^ Wilkening, Matthew (April 25, 2011). "Vince Gill Wins Carrie Underwood Over With 'Jesus, Take the Wheel' Cover During 'ACM Girls Night Out' Show". Taste of Country. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  28. ^ "Series 03 Episode 18 – the Pants Alternative". November 7, 2010.

External links[edit]