"And if it looks choose we to be scared come death/ prefer a pair of youngsters just tryin" to conserve each other/ you should"ve viewed it in color."

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

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The song"s co-writer, Lee cutting board Miller, lugged up the image in a conversation v Jamey Johnson. A lightbulb automatically went turn off for both songwriters, and also once they ultimately got in a room with each other (along through James Otto), a modern-day country classic was born.

Lee thomas Miller told the "Story Behind the Song" come Bart Herbison of Nashville Songwriters combination International.

Bart Herbison: “The Story Behind the track for the ubraintv-jp.com this week (features) among my favorite humans, Lee thomas Miller. And it important is a story song. ‘In Color.’ You composed 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 to be in the korean War. Mine remained in Germany in WWII. But that really wasn’t where the idea started. Jamey was having actually a lot of of success as a songwriter. That was having a number one party for, ns think, ‘Ladies Love nation Boys.’ my office to be close to BMI in ~ the time and I simply happened come finish (writing) early. Ns was going come walk end to Jamey’s number one party. Simply the ahead year, he had won ‘Song the the Year’ through ‘Give the Away.’ Whispering Bill (Anderson) was (a co-writer) on the song. Us all love Bill. He is one of the critical people (still composing songs) from the generation. Ns walk over to Jamey Johnson that is standing outside BMI, smoking cigarettes a cigarette, as he tends to do. Ns just walked up, and we began chatting.

I said, “Man, ns thought about you. Have actually you talked to bill Anderson? A pair weeks ago at the BMI Awards, my wife and I were sitting there, and on the screens they will run pictures of previous BMI Awards. They might be from last year and also then they’ll go back and you may see part from the "60s. You’ll have actually lots of black and white pictures. Friend would have Kitty Wells (standing beside) two people in suits. Being the finish country music nerd that ns am, ns told my wife that I would certainly love to recognize who every the civilization are in every those old pictures. "Who are the suits? ns wish we were sit close to invoice Anderson. He’s the just one in this room who might tell united state who all of the human being in that picture are."" Jamey never ever says a word. The listens to the whole story and also he takes a big drag turn off his cigarette and says, “There’s her idea, Hoss. Think it is something, you shoulda’ seen that in color.”

BH: Wow! 

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

Of course, the took three months come actually gain him pinned under to perform it, yet he dubbed me top top the method in the day and also said, “I think we gained a an excellent idea.” 

I think he had (cancelled a create with) James Otto the job before. He obtained there (to the creating appointment) and he’s looking at his phone. The said, “Do you recognize James Otto?” i said, “Yeah!” he asked if i cared whether James came in v us due to the fact that he had cancelled the day before. Ns said, “I nothing care.” 

About 15 minutes later, James come in and by 3 o’clock, we had a song.

BH: i bet rose oil was appreciative.

That is a song.” 

LTM: I think that goes ago to the idea. I think it was likewise the record. It was so unique. It most likely took three hrs to write. I remember the the leg said, “That’s the story of mine life, right there in black and white.” We had actually that happening in ~ 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 worked a lot of on the language.

We had actually a long conversation around how normal civilization were sent out away come war. My grand was a tobacco farmer in Kentucky, and he to be drafted. That went in together a Private and also came out as a Private. That literally went and saved the world and also went earlier to the tobacco farm. The was the beautiful thing around those that serve. They are simply normal people. There was a lot of that conversation. Together you do (though), it at some point needs to be about the girl.

...Things have happened since then that space special to me. 5 or six years ago, fine after the tune (was released,) we saw the WWII Museum in brand-new Orleans, i m sorry is more than likely the best collection the WWII memorabilia. The made that part of the tune that much much more real come me. I always say the it won awards and also did every those things. The song readjusted my life and my career. Every now and then, world will tell me that their grand put that in his will to have that track played in ~ his funeral.

BH: This was just laying here. (Holds up photo) This was my grandpa, Barton Pullen, who offered in arguably the toughest battle in American battle History, he remained in the Argonne Forrest in WWI. It was just laying there, a black and also white picture. For him and also for your grandpa, and also for everybody that ever served, I thank you. This track summarizes the feeling.

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About the series

In partnership v Nashville Songwriters combination International, the "Story Behind the Song" video clip interview series features Nashville-connected songwriters stating one of their compositions. For full video interviews with every one of our subjects, visit www.ubraintv-jp.com/music.