July 22, 2009 — The title of this week's new No. 1 country single in Country Aircheck is "People Are Crazy." Almost as crazy is the name next to it: Billy Currington.
Not that Billy doesn't know what he's doing. Heck, he had a No. 1 hit with his previous single, "Don't." But an executive at his record label told Billy there was a long line of multi-platinum artists in front of him when he first heard the song, and it didn't appear at first that it would work out. The song had already drawn interest, Billy says, from George Strait, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney.
"I'm like, 'I'm in line behind all those guys?'" he recalls. "But somehow it worked out a few weeks later that we were able to record the song."
It might have had something to do with Billy's enthusiasm for "People Are Crazy." He heard it on a CD of songs written by Troy Jones. It wasn't the first one on the disc, but it's the one that most drew Billy's attention.
"I think it was like the fourth one," he says, "but that was the first one I went to, just because of the title alone."
Ultimately, Billy possibly got a shot at the song because the other artists are basically good guys.
"A lot of times, you know, artists are respectful enough to the songwriters that if they're just kinda so-so [about recording it], they'll let it go because someone else is gonna record it that week or somethin'," Billy explains. "I think that's kinda what happened for us."
The quirky storyline brought Troy Jones' second hit as a songwriter, following Kenny and George's duet "Shiftwork." His co-writer on "People Are Crazy" is the inimitable Bobby Braddock, whose long list of hits includes Toby Keith's "I Wanna Talk About Me," Tammy Wynette's "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" and George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today."
Billy's booked a guest appearance Aug. 19 on "The Late Show With David Letterman." He's also slated to appear July 30 at Joe's Pub in New York for a songwriter showcase organized by the Country Music Association. His fellow songwriters that night will include Bob DiPiero ("You Can't Take The Honky Tonk Out Of The Girl"), Jason Sellers ("Strange") and Keith Follese ("The Way You Love Me").