What Was I Thinkin'

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"What Was I Thinkin'"
Single by Dierks Bentley
from the album Dierks Bentley
B-side "Whiskey Tears"[1]
Released April 14, 2003
Format CD single
Recorded 2003
Genre Country
Length 4:21
Label Capitol Nashville
Producer(s) Brett Beavers
Certification Gold (U.S.)
Dierks Bentley singles chronology
"What Was I Thinkin'"
"My Last Name"

"What Was I Thinkin'" is a song co-written and recorded by American country music artist Dierks Bentley. It was released in April 2003 as the first single from his self-titled debut album. The song became his first number one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts in September 2003.


Bentley co-wrote "What Was I Thinkin'" with his record producer, Brett Beavers, and Deric Ruttan.[2] The song is an up-tempo in which he recalls escaping one night with a "beauty from south Alabama," named Becky while the narrator spends the song constantly questioning "what was I thinkin'", being mesmerized by Becky into committing all manner of foolish activities.[3] The night begins with Becky and the narrator sneaking out of her father's house but her father catches them leaving the property and shoots the tailgate of the truck on their way out with his shotgun. Shortly after they are caught in a police chase where the narrator drives his truck through a cornfield to escape, much to Becky's delight. Later into the night he encounters a large man with a "Born to Kill" tattoo whom he starts a fight with after the man tries to get between him and Becky and has to frantically run away from once he "[knocks] out his front tooth." He returns Becky to her home "at a half-past two" (2:30 AM) but her father is already waiting "in a lawn chair" in the driveway for the pair. The narrator shuts off his truck and waits as the father advances towards them but Becky, being the rowdy girl she is, grins and then sends them speeding off into the night once again.

Critical reception[edit]

Rick Cohoon of Allmusic gave the single a mixed review, comparing its sound and theme to David Lee Murphy's "Dust on the Bottle" and calling the song "catchy enough, yet overdone."[4] Deborah Evans Price of Billboard wrote that the song had an "infectious" melody and "lots of energy."[3]

Because of the line "I was thinkin' 'bout a little white tank top / Sittin' right there in the middle by me," Bentley told Billboard magazine that he began seeing female fans wearing white tank-tops to concerts.[2]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Peter Zavadil and premiered in mid-2003. It tells the story of the song's events in retrospect as the narrator looks over the damage he incurred from his wild night with Becky (such as pulling a corn leaf from the undercarriage of his truck or looking at the scar he picked up from his fight with the "mountain of a man with a 'Born to Kill' tattoo", which apparently is Becky's ex-boyfriend) while wondering if it was really worth it.

The video features Lauren Elaine as "Becky", the white tank-top wearing "beauty from South Alabama". Elaine also appears in "How Am I Doin'" and "Lot of Leavin' Left to Do", as the same character. The video was shot in Kingsbury, Texas in May 2003. The video opens the night of the date when Bentley takes Becky back home. She asks if he would want to do it again, and though he is unsure, he reluctantly agrees. Throughout he is seen performing with his band.

Chart positions[edit]

"What Was I Thinkin'" reached its peak position of number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts dated for the week ending September 27, 2003. The song succeeded Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett's duet "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" at this peak.[5]

Chart (2003) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 22
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[7] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2003) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 6
Preceded by
"It's Five O'Clock Somewhere"
by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett
Hot Country Songs
number-one single

September 27, 2003
Succeeded by
"It's Five O'Clock Somewhere"
by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 48. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  2. ^ a b Stark, Phyllis (August 30, 2003). "Women Notice What Bentley Was Thinkin'". Billboard: 33. 
  3. ^ a b "Singles". Billboard: 41. May 10, 2003. 
  4. ^ Cohoon, Rick. "What Was I Thinkin'". Allmusic. Retrieved March 26, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Dierks Bentley lands first No. 1.". 
  6. ^ "Dierks Bentley – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Dierks Bentley. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  7. ^ "Dierks Bentley – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Dierks Bentley. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  8. ^ "Best of 2003: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2003. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 

External links[edit]