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12 Years Ago: Carrie Underwood’s ‘Jesus, Take the Wheel’ Is Released

Carrie Underwood Jesus Take the Wheel
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Twelve years ago today, on Oct. 18, 2005, Carrie Underwood‘s life was about to change, although she had no way of knowing it at the time. It was on that date that Underwood’s single “Jesus, Take the Wheel” was released.

“Jesus, Take the Wheel” was the debut single from Underwood’s freshman album, Some Hearts. It followed “Inside Your Heaven,” which was released immediately after Underwood was crowned the Season 4 winner of American Idol in 2005.

Written by Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson, the song tells the story of a woman who “was driving last Friday on her way to Cincinnati / On a snow-white Christmas Eve / Going home to see her mama and her daddy with the baby in the backseat.” Although it became an instant hit, James reveals that the song almost wasn’t written.

“We were trying to think of ideas, and Gordie walked in and said, “I have this title, and I don’t know what to do with it: “When Jesus Takes the Wheel,”” the songwriter recalls to The Boot. “Hillary and I both laughed. I thought it was kind of silly, to be honest with you. I thought, What in the world does that mean?’

Carrie Underwood Jesus Take the Wheel single cover

“We kind of talked about it a while, then went around with five or six other song titles to write something else,” James continues. “We couldn’t think of anything else and went back to Gordie’s idea.”

Although “Jesus, Take the Wheel” became the first of many No. 1 hits for Underwood, it remains one of her favorites, and one she hopes that people remember her by.

“Not “Before He Cheats” or “Good Girl,” none of that,” she tells Entertainment Weekly. “Something that somebody can hear, and it would make them feel better or help them through an important time or a tough time in their life.”

“Jesus, Take the Wheel” spent a total of six weeks at the top of the country charts, landing in the Top 10 on Billboard‘s Adult Contemporary, Top 100 and Christian charts as well. The song won an ACM Awards trophy for Single Record of the Year and a Grammys trophy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance; it also helped Some Hearts sell more than 7 million copies to date, making it the most successful album of Underwood’s career so far.

“Jesus, Take the Wheel” is available for download on iTunes.

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