Thomas Luther Bryan was born in Leesburg in Southern Georgia in 1976. Some 1,000 inhabitants these days, but a quite interesting source of sports and musical talent: apart from Bryan, the city grew one American Idol winner, two former MLB players and two notable American Football players, according to wikipedia. When Bryan was 19 and about to move to Nashville, his brother died in a car accident. This slowed down his career. However, once finally in Music City, his career had a phenomenal start. His debut albumI’ll Stay Me peaked second in the US Country Charts. In 2010, he had his first Number One single, Rain is a Good Thing. It also topped the Airplay – and from that song to the 2020 One Margerita, only three Luke Bryan singles did not peak on the top of the US County Airplays. However, Bryan was in the peak of his career from 2011 to 2014. Country Girl (Shake It for Me) is his best selling song (3.7m units US), even though it just was fourth in the US Country Single Charts.
His first single of 2014 was Play It Again – and somehow, this is the end of the “Luke Bryan at the very top” era. The song sold 2.5 million units in the US, went six time platinum in the USA. The most successful single sold after Play It Again was the 2015 with about 1m units. Play It Again is thereby a very positive song track. On a tailgate party, a girl heard her favorite song on the radio, asking the protagonist for a dance. The next week on a date, he played the song on the guitar for her. The music video features Bryan’s tour life and the emotions of his fans during his shows.
Play It Again – My Story of the Song
In early June 2014, my wife and I had a trip to Florida. It was the first time we were exploring the sunshine state together. We touched all the tourist destinations – Miami, Fort Lauderdale, St. Augustine, Orlando etc. – on this twelve day trip, crossing the state by rental car. I somehow came to the idea to switch the car radio to Luke Bryan. We did not have Sirius XM or similar, so that we really changed the (local) radio stations frequently, but somehow stuck with the genre. As most of you likely know, the rotation in US radio stations leads to much higher airplay frequencies compared to Europe. No matter if we could stick with one radio station or had to switch, there was one constant – Luke Bryan and Play It Again.
Even now, more than six years later, I remember that we listened to this song at least every eighty, ninety minutes. I remember that being on the road, we even had the track three times within about one hour, just because we switched stations in between. Until that travel, I have not been in touch too deeply with modern country music – and rather associated country music with the sound of the 1960’s and 1970’s, which still feels to be too old fashioned to me. Luke Bryan and his song, however, fascinated me from the very beginning – and more and more I got into the other songs they played more or less frequently in the radio.
Luke Bryan’s song was the first modern country one I liked
I would say that Luke Bryan’s Play It Again was finally my gateway to modern country music. There were other songs, which were quite frequently played in the radio and definitely attracted me – two of them were Automatic by Miranda Lambert and Drunk on a Plane by Dierks Bentley (a song I still admire – rather due to my attitude towards aviation than towards alcohol) – but Play it Again just was special – and it was by the way also the first artist I felt I have to see live on stage – a dream which came true some three years later at a country music festival in Lexington, Kentucky. Thus, you can say that this song is somehow one of the key drivers which added music to the scope of Flyctory.com – which has originally been planned as a sports and travel website only.
By the way, if I remember correctly, I left Florida with some 15 country music CDs when I flew back home (including Crash My Party) – the country music radio really did a great job. Nowadays, when in the US, I listen to country radio stations roughly 90 per cent of the time. Until now, Play It Again is my favorite Luke Bryan track. At the time of writing, the song was about to 185m views on YouTube and had 305m streams on Spotify.