Lady Antebellum Count 31 Golden Classics

There’s a song on the newly released deluxe edition of Lady Antebellum’s Golden album called “And the Radio Played.” And if you’ve been listening to country music for the last 33 years — give or take a few — you will love this song from beginning to end. So, from 1980 to 2011.

I had the chance to ask the trio’s Charles Kelley all about this song and the 31 songs that wind their way through the lyrics about being raised on the radio. “We chose the songs that spoke to us, we chose the songs that were timeless, and we chose songs that fit into the puzzle and the story and the rhyme scheme,” Kelley told me. “It was our way of paying homage to all those great songs and the songwriters.”

Since Kelley, 32, is the oldest one in the band, he took the first chorus that’s built around the songs from the ’80s. “My dad had this old Chevrolet Silverado, and when I was a boy, he’d put me in his lap and he’d be holding the wheel, but he’d let me take the wheel like I was driving,” he recalled. “And we’d be listening to country music all the time. He was strictly country music.”

But even the songs from the ’90s in the second verse take Kelley back to some very memorable moments. “Gosh, ’Strawberry Wine’ makes me think about being in school, being at a dance and dancing to that song. That was our song of the year,” he said of the 1996 Deana Carter hit.

And since we were talking about young love, I went ahead and asked if he was the one who came up with the lyric about climbing through the bedroom window to make out on the roof.

“I did sneak out there in high school, at night, maybe just to try my first cigarette. But I was never lucky enough to make out on the roof,” Kelley said. “Sometimes in songs, you have to create your own little fantasy.”

The songs highlighted in “And the Radio Played” take you from Ronnie Milsap in 1980 through Luke Bryan in 2011. This is not how they appear in the song, but I put them in chronological order so you can get a feel for the 33-year-long memory lane.

“Smoky Mountain Rain,” Ronnie Milsap, 1980
“He Stopped Loving Her Today,” George Jones, 1980
“Old Flame,” Alabama, 1981
“I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool,” Barbara Mandrell, 1981
“Always on My Mind,” Willie Nelson, 1982
“Swingin’,” John Anderson, 1983
“Forever and Ever, Amen,” Randy Travis, 1987
“I’ll Still Be Loving You,” Restless Heart, 1987
“The Dance,” Garth Brooks, 1990
“Love Without End, Amen,” George Strait, 1990
“Brand New Man,” Brooks & Dunn, 1991
“Don’t Rock the Jukebox,” Alan Jackson, 1991
“Meet in the Middle,” Diamond Rio, 1991
“Does He Love You?” Reba McEntire and Linda Davis*, 1993
“Independence Day,” Martina McBride, 1994
“Strawberry Wine,” Deana Carter, 1996
“Time Marches On,” Tracy Lawrence, 1996
“Amazed,” Lonestar, 1999
“I Hope You Dance,” Lee Ann Womack, 2000
“Remember When,” Alan Jackson, 2003
“She’s My Kind of Rain,” Tim McGraw, 2003
“Forever and for Always,” Shania Twain, 2003
“You’ll Think of Me,” Keith Urban, 2004
“What Hurts the Most,” Rascal Flatts, 2006
“Before He Cheats,” Carrie Underwood, 2006
“Don’t Blink,” Kenny Chesney, 2007
“I Saw God Today,” George Strait, 2008
“Love Story,” Taylor Swift, 2008
“She’s Country,” Jason Aldean, 2008
“The House That Built Me,” Miranda Lambert, 2010
“I Don’t Want This Night to End,” Luke Bryan, 2011

* Fun fact: Davis is Hillary Scott’s mom.