Justin Moore's 'The Ones That Didn't Make It Back Home' Was Inspired by His Grandfathers

Justin Moore's latest single, "The Ones That Didn't Make It Back Home," might never have been written without the influence of his paternal grandparents, whose sacrifices continue to affect not only Moore's music, but almost every aspect of his life.

"Both of my grandfathers served," Moore told PopCulture.com. "One in the Navy and one in the Air Force and then I had a ton of cousins and that kind of stuff. Really my grandfathers were the ones that influenced me to be cognizant about being very appreciative and respectful of our men and women who serve and have served."

Moore had another big hit, early in his career, with "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away." The song, from Moore's sophomore Outlaws Like Me album, became a platinum-selling No. 1 hit for the singer. But accolades aside, the song showed Moore that sometimes the success of a song isn't dependent on sales or chart positions.

"I learned with that song, obviously it's fun and it's exciting to have No. 1 songs, and it's good for your career, all that stuff, and all that comes along with that," Moore said. "But it's really cool when you have a song that genuinely touches people and impacts their lives. Having that chance to go across the country and hear from people face to face in meet and greets and whatnot, how much that song helped them through a difficult time, I thought, 'Wow, that's pretty cool. It would be nice to have another one of those type songs. It was more special than just a hit song in other words."

Moore always pays tribute to the men and women who serve in his shows, but it wasn't until recently that he was inspired to write a song about their sacrifices.

"I always talk about our military as we set that song up in concert," Moore said, speaking about "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away." "I've done it for eight years and I always talk about our service men and women and teachers and nurses and police officers and firefighters. And for eight years now, I've always ended that whole spiel with, 'We'll send it out to the ones that didn't make it back home.' I don't know why it took me seven years, or eight years, to realize that's the song title, but one night, on stage, I just said it and I go, 'Oh my gosh, that's a song.'"

Moore wrote the song with Paul DiGiovanni, Chase McGill and Jeremy Stover, and hopes that, regardless of where it lands on the chart, it resonates with his fans.

"I'm so really proud of the song," said the singer. "My hope is that it impacts people the same way that 'Heaven' did."


"The Ones That Didn't Make It Back Home" is from his upcoming Late Nights and Longnecks album, which will be released on July 26.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/ Denise Truscello