Oh 2001, the year of answering machines and Blake Shelton’s glorious mullet. It’s not common for artists to strike gold on their very first country single, let alone follow it up with 25 more number one hits. But “Austin” jump started Shelton’s career, and he hasn’t slowed down since.
Shelton released “Austin” in April of 2001 to some unforeseen bumps in the road. The song changed hands, as Shelton’s original record label Giant Records folded, and was transferred to Warner Brothers Records. It finally hit number one that August and claimed the spot for five consecutive weeks, tying the record for number of weeks at number one from a debut single. The previous artist to do that? Billy Ray Cyrus, “Achy Breaky Heart.”
Written by David Kent and Kirsti Manna, the two were inspired by a fellow songwriter, who after his former girlfriend left for Austin, changed his outgoing message to “By the way, if this is Austin, I still love you.” The only difference between the song and the real life story it reflected was the ending. Kent recalls saying they wanted to create a happy ending to the song; where it’s not the machine he is talking to, but really Austin.
Although it’s been 17 years, countless number ones, and a gig on a singing competition, Blake Shelton is still best known for the single that started it all.
If you don’t belt that last verse: “If you’re callin’ ‘bout my heart, it’s still yours, I should’ve listened to it a little more,” your allegiance to country music is seriously questioned.