Story Behind the Song: Little Big Town, ‘Pontoon’
In 2012, Little Big Town earned their very first No. 1 single with "Pontoon," the first single from their fifth studio album, Tornado. Written by Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird and Barry Dean, the song has been certified double platinum and took home Best Country Duo / Group Performance at the Grammy Awards in 2013. Below, Hemby tells The Boot about the day the song was written.
Luke Laird and I wrote a song called "Fine Tune" that Miranda Lambert cut on her Four the Record album, and someone heard that song and though we said "pontoon." I thought that was hilarious, and I was like, "We should write this really obnoxious song called "Pontoon,"" and Luke was like, "Oh my gosh, we totally should do that."
So, some time went by, and Luke was like, "Have you met my friend Barry Dean?" and I was like, "No, I've never met Barry Dean." Literally, the first song I wrote with Barry Dean and Luke Laird, the two of them -- which, we've written several since this -- was "Pontoon" ... Our first line originally was "Back this b---h up into the water," and obviously you can't say that on country radio, so eventually it was changed to "hitch."
So, we pitched this around to some people -- I know Dierks Bentley had put it on hold -- but the funniest response was from Kix Brooks: He said, "Hahaha! 'Back this b---h up into the water.' I love it. I won't cut it, but I love it."
You know, ["Pontoon" producer] Jay [Joyce] is a friend of mine, and so is Little Big Town. I love all of them so, so much; they're the nicest people. They made the song so freaking cool, and then I got to go be out there [when they were shooting the music video]; we actually had a boat, and we pulled our boat near theirs when they were shooting "Pontoon" that day, so it was fun to get to watch that as well ...
I never knew it would get the reaction that it did. What was funny is, we'd be out on our boat, and I'd hear the song playing on all these different pontoon boats out on Percy Priest Lake, [located slightly east of Nashville]. It was so awesome to see the thing take off. Sometimes I find that it's a little surreal that that was actually the first No. 1 they ever had; the only reason I'm baffled by that is because I love so many of their other songs ...
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