98: You Had Me From Hello

98: You Had Me From Hello

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Country Music

You Had Me From Hello

Story by Skip Ewing

Song written by Kenny Chesney and Skip Ewing

Recorded by Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney and I were at the same publishing company, and I knew him before he got his record deal. We had written a song together called “Me and You” that had been a hit for him. I liked what he did and he liked what I did, so we decided to start writing together again.

One day he called me and said, “Have you seen that movie Jerry McGuire?” I said I had, and then asked him why, and he said, “You know that one line in there — ‘you had me at hello’ — that is an amazing song idea.”

That movie was pretty popular by then, so I said, “Well, everybody’s seen that movie, everybody knows that line right now, so everybody’s going to want to write that.” And, in his inimitable way, he said, “Well, then, let’s be the first ones.”

As soon as he said that, I felt something. I usually go with my gut, and if I feel something like that, I’ll go with it. Before we even got together, I already had some ideas working in my head, but I wanted to change it to “You Had Me From Hello,” because there was something about going from “me” to “at” that I didn’t like. It seemed it would be better to go from a vowel to a consonant rather than from a vowel to another vowel. Vocally, I thought it would work better for the singer, and also poetically it sounded better.

When we wrote it, we really weren’t thinking about the movie that much. We were just thinking about how someone can take your breath away and steal your heart at the same time. And the singer in this song says, “The moment you looked into my eyes, you owned me.” I love those kinds of lines, expressing those kinds of feelings.

The challenge is to say something that will make the listener think the person singing the song understands them. If you are close enough to someone and you end up falling for them — boy, that’s universal. Everyone has done that. We’ve all been hurt by it, but what a wonderful element of our lives that is. And it’s such a powerful feeling to hear “You had me from hello.”

Unlike many artists, when Kenny has an idea like that, he is already imagining what he can do with that song, so he is really writing for himself. We knew that he was going to cut it. It’s not that he can’t write for someone else, but he’s a very soulful person. He has a lot of depth to him and he’s a pretty cool guy. We finished the song, he cut it and it was a big hit for him.

At the time we wrote it, we both knew who Renée Zellweger was and who Tom Cruise was, but we didn’t know that much about either of them. At least Kenny didn’t. I was a pretty big fan of Renée Zellweger, but had never met her. So one thing led to another and Kenny and Renee were in a relationship with each other, and I sat there thinking, “I was a big fan of hers. Don’t I at least get to meet her?”

When I play this live, sometimes I make a joke about this and say, “Here we write this song and Kenny Chesney ends up having a love affair with Renée Zellweger and all I get is my name in super small print somewhere in the middle of People magazine. What’s up with that?”

You Had Me From Hello

One word, that’s all you said,

Something in your voice caused me to turn my head.

Your smile just captured me, and you were in my future, far as I could see.

And I don’t know how it happened, but it happens still.

You asked me if I love you, if I always will.


Well, you had me from “Hello”

I felt love start to grow

The moment that I looked into your eyes.

You owned me.

It was over from the start.

You completely stole my heart,

and now you won’t let go.

I never even had a chance, you know

You had me from “Hello”

Inside I built a wall so high around my heart, I thought I’d never fall.

One touch and you brought it down.

The bricks of my defenses scattered on the ground

And I swore to me I wasn’t going to love again

The last time was the last time I’d let someone in.

But you…


You had me from “Hello.”

That’s all you said

Something in your voice caused me to turn my head

You had me from “Hello”

You had me from “Hello”

Girl, I’ve loved you from “Hello”

To purchase the original demo of this song,
go to www.countrysongdemos.com

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