"And if the looks like we were scared to death/ choose a couple of children just tryin" to conserve each other/ girlfriend should"ve watched it in color."

Jamey Johnson"s award-winning 2008 hit "In Color" — a song around looking ago at old black and also white picture from civilization War II and also beyond — was actually an initial inspired by old shots presented at Nashville"s yearly BMI Awards.

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The song"s co-writer, Lee cutting board Miller, carried up the picture in a conversation through Jamey Johnson. A lightbulb automatically went off for both songwriters, and once they finally got in a room with each other (along through James Otto), a modern country standard was born.

Lee cutting board Miller said the "Story Behind the Song" to Bart Herbison the Nashville Songwriters combination International.


Bart Herbison: “The Story Behind the tune for the moment-g.com this week (features) among my favourite humans, Lee thomas Miller. And also it truly is a story song. ‘In Color.’ You created it through Jamey Johnson and James Otto. What is the story behind it?” 

Lee thomas Miller: “They’re a tiny younger 보다 me, so your grandfathers were in the korean War. Mine was in Germany in WWII. But that yes, really wasn’t wherein the idea started. Jamey was having actually a lot of of success together a songwriter. That was having a number one party for, ns think, ‘Ladies Love country Boys.’ my office to be close to BMI in ~ the time and also I just happened to finish (writing) early. Ns was going come walk end to Jamey’s number one party. Just the vault year, he had winner ‘Song of the Year’ through ‘Give the Away.’ Whispering Bill (Anderson) was (a co-writer) on the song. Us all love Bill. He is among the critical people (still writing songs) from that generation. Ns walk over to Jamey Johnson who is standing exterior BMI, cigarette smoking a cigarette, together he often tends to do. I just walked up, and we started chatting.


I said, “Man, ns thought around you. Have you speak to invoice Anderson? A pair weeks back at the BMI Awards, my wife and I to be sitting there, and on the screens they will certainly run images of past BMI Awards. They might be from critical year and also then they’ll go earlier and you might see part from the "60s. You’ll have actually lots that black and also white pictures. Friend would have actually Kitty Wells (standing beside) two world in suits. Gift the finish country music nerd that i am, i told my mam that I would certainly love to recognize who every the people are in every those old pictures. "Who space the suits? ns wish us were sit close to invoice Anderson. He is the just one in this room who might tell united state who all of the world in that snapshot are."" Jamey never ever says a word. That listens to the whole story and also he takes a large drag off his cigarette and also says, “There’s your idea, Hoss. Think it is something, you shoulda’ seen that in color.”

BH: Wow! 

LTM: i said, "You might be as good as friend think you are. Don’t compose that with anybody else. And the said, "Call me tomorrow."


Of course, that took 3 months come actually obtain him pinned down to perform it, but he dubbed me on the way in the day and said, “I think we acquired a an excellent idea.” 

I think that had (cancelled a write with) James Otto the work before. He got there (to the composing appointment) and he is looking in ~ his phone. That said, “Do you understand James Otto?” i said, “Yeah!” that asked if i cared whether James came in with us since he had cancelled the work before. Ns said, “I don’t care.” 

About 15 minute later, James comes in and also by 3 o’clock, we had a song.

BH: i bet rose oil was appreciative.

That is a song.” 

LTM: I think the goes earlier to the idea. I think it was additionally the record. It was so unique. It probably took three hrs to write. I remember that the leg said, “That’s the story of mine life, right there in black and also white.” We had actually that happening at the end of every verse and one the the last things we did to be take that out and put it together the bridge. We functioned a lot of on the language.

We had actually a lengthy conversation about how normal civilization were sent away come war. My grandfather was a tobacco farmer in Kentucky, and he was drafted. The went in as a Private and came out together a Private. The literally went and also saved the world and also went ago to the tobacco farm. That was the beautiful thing about those that serve. Lock are simply normal people. There to be a most that conversation. Together you do (though), it eventually needs come be about the girl.

...Things have actually happened since then that are special to me. 5 or 6 years ago, fine after the tune (was released,) we went to the WWII Museum in new Orleans, i beg your pardon is more than likely the best collection of WWII memorabilia. The made that component of the tune that much much more real to me. I always say that it winner awards and did every those things. The song changed my life and also my career. Every now and also then, civilization will call me the their grandfather put the in his will certainly to have actually that song played at his funeral.


BH: This was just laying here. (Holds up photo) This to be my grandpa, Barton Pullen, who served in may be the toughest battle in American battle History, he was in the Argonne Forrest in WWI. It to be just laying there, a black and white picture. Because that him and for your grandpa, and for everybody that ever before served, I give thanks to you. This track summarizes the feeling.

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About the series

In partnership through Nashville Songwriters association International, the "Story Behind the Song" video clip interview collection features Nashville-connected songwriters pointing out one of their compositions. Because that full video clip interviews with all of our subjects, visit www.moment-g.com/music.