Don't Take the Girl

Don't Take the Girl
"Don't Take the Girl"
Single by Tim McGraw
from the album Not a Moment Too Soon
B-side "Welcome to the Club"
Released March 28, 1994
Format CD Single
Recorded 1993
Genre Country
Length 4:09
Label Curb
Writer(s) Craig Martin
Larry W. Johnson
Producer Byron Gallimore
James Stroud
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Tim McGraw singles chronology
"Indian Outlaw"
"Don't Take the Girl"
"Down on the Farm"

"Don't Take The Girl" is the title of a song written by Craig Martin and Larry W. Johnson and recorded by American country music artist Tim McGraw. The song was Tim's fifth single overall, and his first number-one single on the Hot Country Songs chart. It reached number one on the Canadian country chart as well and it was also a successful pop song, reaching number 17 on the Hot 100.



The song tells the story of two young lovers dealing with difficult scenarios at three different stages in their lives. In each situation, the man does all he can to make sure different people "don't take the girl."

In the first verse, the young man (Johnny) is eight years old, about to go on a fishing trip with his father. A young, unnamed girl, apparently Johnny's age, is also present, with fishing pole in hand. Johnny does not want the girl to come fishing with them. So he begs his father to "take any boy in the world / Daddy please, don't take the girl".

The song's second verse finds Johnny and the girl ten years later, as teenagers, and they have fallen in love with each other and are now going steady. As Johnny and the girl are leaving the picture show (movie theater) on their date, they are stopped by a lone robber. He grabs the girl and tells Johnny to give in to his demands. Johnny surrenders his money, wallet, credit cards, his grandfather's watch, and car so that the girl would be safe (In the music video, the crook is only seen running away with the wallet).

Verse three takes place another five years after the second verse. At this point, Johnny and the girl are now married, when the girl is rushed to the hospital to have her baby delivered. The baby is safely delivered, but the doctor informs Johnny that his wife is "fading fast" (presumably dying of complications). Johnny then collapses to his knees and prays to God, asking that his own life be taken instead of his wife's. In the music video, it is revealed that Johnny's wife and child both survive.

The song ends with a repeat of the opening line of the song: "Johnny's daddy was taking him fishin' when he was eight years old" leaving the listener with the impression that the cycle has begun to repeat itself.

Critical reception

Deborah Evans Price, of Billboard magazine reviewed the song favorably, saying that the song has the listeners "crying in their beer in the dancehalls down in Texas." Price goes on to say that once radio gets a hold of it, the song will take off. [1]

Music video

This was Tim's second music video. It was directed by Sherman Halsey. It shows 5 actors, playing Johnny, his dad, the girl, the robber & the doctor. Intercut with Tim, performing in front of dark blue lights.

Chart performance

"Don't Take the Girl" debuted at number 71 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks for the week of April 2, 1994.

Peak positions

Chart (1994) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[2] 17
US Country Songs (Billboard)[3] 1
Canada Country Tracks (RPM) 1

End of year charts

End of year chart (1994) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[4] 87



  1. ^ Billboard, April 30, 1994
  2. ^ "Tim McGraw Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Tim McGraw. Prometheus Global Media.
  3. ^ "Tim McGraw Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Country Songs for Tim McGraw. Prometheus Global Media.
  4. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
Preceded by
"Your Love Amazes Me"
by John Berry
Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks
number-one single

May 28-June 4, 1994
Succeeded by
"That Ain't No Way to Go"
by Brooks & Dunn
Preceded by
"Such a Lonely One"
by Prairie Oyster
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

June 20, 1994
Succeeded by
by Neal McCoy

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