August 6.2014 – Story Behind “My List” by Toby Keith

Hear the story here!

Not all songwriters can turn a “to-do” list into a hit. But Rand Bishop and Tim James did just that.
“Tim and I were doing other things besides writing songs to make ends meet,” recalls Rand. “I was a crew leader for Census 2000, responsible for detailing the population of prisons, hospitals and dormitories in Davidson County, Tennessee. Tim was painting houses three days a week. He and I had been writing regularly for several years.”

“I’ve made a to-do list every day for years,” remembers Tim. “When I showed up to write, I told Rand I’d like to write a song about how my daily list is made up of chores – but that the truth is we also need to have a list for ‘bigger picture’ items.”

Rand “got it” right way.

“I started singing the first line, Under an old brass paperweight is my list of things to do today,” explains Rand. “The lion’s share of the song was written that day. Over the next couple of weeks we made small, but significant, lyric changes over the phone. I demoed it in my attic studio at home, playing all the instruments and singing it myself.”

Then Toby Keith heard the demo.

“Toby thought it was a hit,” notes Rand, “but it wasn’t consistent with his rebellious, fun-loving, masculine image, and he wasn’t sure his vocal style would work on it. James Stroud, his producer, thought he should give it a go.”

When “My List” was released just before Christmas 2001, the U.S. was still reeling from the shock of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and many people – reminded that life is short and extremely fragile – were examining their priorities. The song soared to No. 1 and was on the charts for about 40 weeks, ending 2002 as the most-played song that year in country radio, according to Radio & Records magazine.

And the poignant tune was a natural springboard for an inspirational book. “We had received so many letters and e-mails from great folks all across America telling us how they had been positively affected by ‘My List,'” notes Rand. It took Tim and Rand six months to write My List: 24 Reflections on Life’s Priorities. “‘My List’ has been a blessing,” sums up Tim.

“And to this day the line Call up my folks just to chat/It’s time that I make time for that is one of my favorites. ‘Call Mom and Dad’ is on my to-do list every day.”
Article written by — Larry Holden of Country Weekly Magazine

Toby guest starred in a season eight episode of Touched by an Angel “Most Likely to Succeed”, singing this song which originally aired on November 10, 2001.

“My Wish” became a number one hit on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs chart, keeping the top spot for 5 weeks April 20th through May 18th 2002.

Lyrics: Written by Rand Bishop and Tim James
Under an old brass paperweight is my list of things to do today
Go to the bank and the hardware store, put a new lock on the cellar door
I cross ’em off as I get ’em done but when the sun is set
There’s still more than a few things left I haven’t got to yet

Go for a walk, say a little prayer
Take a deep breath of mountain air
Put on my glove and play some catch
It’s time that I make time for that
Wade the shore and cast a line
Look up a long lost friend of mine
Sit on the porch and give my girl a kiss
Start livin’, that’s the next thing on my list

Wouldn’t change the course of fate but cuttin’ the grass just had to wait
‘Cause I’ve got more important things like pushin’ my kid on the backyard swing
I won’t break my back for a million bucks I can’t take to my grave
So why put off for tomorrow what I could get done today

Like go for a walk, say a little prayer
Take a deep breath of mountain air
Put on my glove and play some catch
It’s time that I make time for that
Wade the shore and cast a line
Look up a long lost friend of mine
Sit on the porch and give my girl a kiss
Start livin’, that’s the next thing on my list

Raise a little hell, laugh ’til it hurts
Put an extra five in the plate at church
Call up my folks just to chat
It’s time that I make time for that
Stay up late, then oversleep
Show her what she means to me
Catch up on all the things I’ve always missed
Just start livin’, that’s the next thing on my list

Under an old brass paperweight
Is my list of things to do today

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About Robynn

Robynn Jaymes has spent her whole life in radio… 30 years!! And almost half of them have been at Star Country. Originally from Cincinnati, Robynn came to the area as a Liberty University student. Along with all things country music, Robynn is a big fan of Football!—The Virginia Tech Hokies, The Washington Redskins and, of course, the Cincinnati Bengals. And also, “I’m addicted to the Weather Channel,” she says. Right now, Robynn is a big fan if the music coming from Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and Kenny Chesney! Robynn is also a winner of the Billboard Air Personality of the Year award. Hear all new Warm & Fuzzies with Robynn M-F at 11:45AM!

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