80: The Grand Tour

80: The Grand Tour

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Country Music

The Grand Tour

Story by Norro Wilson

Song written by Norro Wilson, George Richey, and Carmol Taylor

Recorded by George Jones, Aaron Neville

George Richey came up with the title. He said, “We need to write a song called ‘The Grand Tour.’” And we immediately got it as soon as he said it. I’ve always thought that if you come up with a unique concept for a song, it will write itself. We did it in two days. We would just go from one thought to the next, like “see the picture on the table, don’t it look like she’d be able / to touch me and say ‘good morning dear.’” It’s like “Paint Me A Birmingham,” which I think is a fabulous song. The writer of that was saying, “paint me a picture of that. I want to live in that little community and have a white fence and a swing.” What the singer was saying was, “This was what it was like when life was good,” “Over there sits the chair, when she’d bring the morning paper to me,” and things like that.

We wrote it exclusively for George. That song had George Jones all over it. I can sound like George. I can’t sing like him, but I’ve always been able to do his inflections and he’s always gotten a kick out of that.

Right after that song was cut, I went to the Opry with Freddy Weller, It was the first time that he had ever sung there, so I went with him to support him. And everybody at the Opry knew about the song that night and they were all saying, “Well, I guess you’ll be able to buy another Cadillac soon,” because they all knew it was going to be a big song.

When I found out Aaron Neville was going to record it a few years ago, I thought that was fabulous. I really like him and I like his style of singing. The producer who did Aaron’s record apparently knew Billy Sherrill and remembered that song, so he played it for Aaron and he loved it.

Since that song did pretty well for Aaron, we later pitched him, “A Picture of Me Without You,” which had the same three writers as “The Grand Tour.” He had just lost his wife to cancer, though. He said, “I love the song but I can’t cut it, because I don’t think I would ever get through it.” I’d love to hear what he could have done with it, but of course, we can’t fault him for feeling that way.

The Grand Tour

Step right up, come on in

If you’d like to take the grand tour

Of the lonely house that once was home sweet home

I have nothing here to sell you

Just some things that I will tell you

Some things I know will chill you to the bone

Over there sits the chair

Where she’d bring the paper to me

And sit down on my knee and whisper, “Oh, I love you.”

But now she’s gone forever

And this old house will never

be the same without the love that we once knew

Straight ahead, that’s the bed

Where we’d lie and love together

And lord knows we had a good thing going here

See her picture on the table

Don’t it look like she’d be able

Just to touch me and say, “Good morning dear.”

There’s her rings, all her things

And her clothes are in the closet

Where she left them when she tore my world apart

As you leave, you’ll see the nursery

Oh, she left me without mercy

Taking nothing but our baby and my heart

Step right up, come on in.

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