Keith Urban has earned his 24th No. 1 hit, this time with his latest single, "Coming Home." The song, which features co-writer Julia Michaels, is from Urban's latest Graffiti U album, and was inspired by Merle Haggard's classic song, "Mama Tried."
"I wanted to write something from that famous guitar lick in that song, and we took it from Haggard's record, sort of manipulated it a little bit and put some new chords around it and wrote this music track," Urban explains. "What became the chorus was almost stream of conscious when I was listening to the track. I just wrote 'There's a place that I know where they all know me / I gotta get back now to the ones who love me / Wrap myself around you / Never let you go / There's nothing in the world that feels like Coming Home.'
"And it all just came out, and that's what Merle's guitar lick made me feel," he adds, "so it was a very important part of the song."
The success of "Coming Home" means that Haggard has earned his first chart-topping single in more than 30 years, ever since "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star" was released in 1987.
"It feels extraordinary," Urban acknowledges. "I mean, Haggard, I grew up with so much of his music in our house and that particular song – 'Mama Tried' that this guitar lick is taken from – is just so deep in my DNA. So, the idea that Hag may get another No. 1 song since the '80s is just about time [laughs] I'd say."
The Aussie went to Haggard's wife and son for permission to draw on the "Mama Tried" guitar lick before recording "Coming Home."
"I called Theresa Haggard and Ben Haggard to play them what we'd been working on," Urban says. "It was important to me to have their blessing- and I'm so grateful that they love the song."
J.R. Rotem and Nicolle Galyon are also co-writers on "Coming Home," but it's Michaels who Urban credits with making the song come to life.
"Julia's writing contribution extended into the idea of the need to want to physically be home," Urban boasts. "She summed up the whole story in one sentence. 'Yeah, I know
it's only one call away, but it's not the same.' For me, that simple phrase said so much,
especially when she sang it!"
Download "Coming Home" on iTunes.
Photo Credit: Getty images/Tim Mosenfelder