60: Not That Different

60: Not That Different

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Country Music

Not That Different

Story by Karen Taylor-Good and Joie Scott

Song written by Karen Taylor-Good and Joie Scott

Recorded by Collin Raye

JS: I was born and raised in Chicago and I was working in advertising with Leo Burnett. I was a city girl but I fell in love with country music. I had known Karen for a while. She used to sing a lot of jingles for our advertising agency. So we struck up a long-distance relationship writing songs together. I was writing for Paul Craft’s music publishing company then. There’s this school right outside Chicago called Keshet, and it’s for kids with special needs. Every year, they would do a fundraising event and I would be asked to write a piece of music for the event. I was sitting at my desk and I was thinking, “If I were a child with special needs, what would I want to say to the world? What would I want to convey?” The thought came to my mind, “I’m really not that different than you. I still have the same emotions. I laugh the same. I cry the same. I feel the same.” I thought that’s what an individual like that might want to say. So I started writing the chorus to the song. And it all came out in one piece. But then I got stuck on some of the verses, so I called Karen.

KTG: I had met this wonderful woman up in Chicago and she was writing these tender, incredibly moving lyrics, and I was singing them, things like “Taco Salad, oooh what a treat. Made just for you and a boy can eat: Taco Bell.” Then we went on to a little bit more meaningful writing. One day, Joie called me and said, “Karen I have this idea for a song. I thought it was just going to be for this school project, but I think it might be something bigger.” She sang me the chorus that she had written. And I couldn’t believe it. I got goose bumps.

JS: We had that long-distance writing relationship for a while. We wrote some of this song in Chicago and we wrote some of it over the phone. I actually ended up writing a different song for the Keshet school fundraiser. We both knew that we had something pretty special with “Not That Different.” It had a pretty universal theme. When we took it in the direction of a love song, it reminded me a little of my husband, Avi, and myself. He was a school principal in Chicago, and I was a big-city girl. And when it was suggested that we go out, I knew who he was, and I thought, “Oh, my gosh, we’re really way too different. This is never going to work.” But of course, it worked beautifully. So there are some elements that I drew from my personal life. There’s a line in the song that says, “She had always dreamed of loving someone more exotic, and he just didn’t seem to fit the part.” When he first heard that line, he said, “You’re not really going to keep that, are you?”

KTG: We finished it and I took the song to Cliff Audretch over at Sony. They liked me at Sony because I had a hit with Patty Loveless. So I was pitching the song for Patty. I played it for Cliff and he said, “No. I don’t hear this song for Patty.” I was getting ready to be really depressed. Then he said, “But I really hear it for Collin Raye.” I said, “You’re kidding? Really?” Fortunately, he’s a great A&R guy and he was absolutely right. Even though Joie and I took the song in a romantic direction on purpose, the chorus has such a bigger meaning. The whole song has a much bigger meaning. We knew that Collin Raye, because he has such a wonderful heart, would get that. And he showed that with the way they did the video. In the video, there were people in wheelchairs and a Holocaust survivor with a number branded on his arm, and it was very moving.

JS: So Collin cut the song and it went to #1 in 1996. He included it on his greatest hits album and it’s been recorded by a number of other artists since then. A little while after that, I began toying with the idea of moving to Nashville, which I eventually did. But I came here the first time on a dare. Someone actually dared me to go to Nashville because they said it was so “not me.” But it ended up being an incredible, overwhelming experience, for a lot of reasons. One of the things that really struck me was there was this huge rainbow across the sky. It was a sign to me that said: “I’m doing the right thing. I am in the right place.” And, the name of the school in Chicago — Keshet — it’s the Hebrew word for “rainbow.”

Not That Different

She said we’re much too different; we’re from two separate worlds

And he admitted she was partly right

But in his heart’s defense he told her what they had in common

Was strong enough to bond them for life

He said “Look behind your own soul and the person that you’ll see

Just might remind you of me”


I laugh, I love, I hope, I try

I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry

and I know you do the same things too

So we’re really not that different, me and you

She could hardly argue with his pure and simple logic

But logic never could convince a heart

She had always dreamed of loving someone more exotic

and he just didn’t seem to fit the part

So she searched for greener pastures but never could forget

What he whispered when she left



Was it time or was it truth

Maybe both led her back to his door

As her tears fell at his feet

She didn’t say “I love you” what she said meant even more


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