“I had an Elvis record that I played,” McGraw said in a recent interview. “It had my favorite Elvis song on it. I’m trying to remember the name of the album, but it had ’If I Can Dream’ on there. I played it over and over. It’s my favorite Elvis song.”
The gospel-tinged tune celebrating the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the closing number of what came to be known Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special.
McGraw also mentioned other music he was into when he was growing up in Louisiana.
“I remember playing Alabama, of course,” he said. “And I played it over and over and over again.”
Like any good teenage boy in the early 1980s, McGraw admits he really loved Rush’s 1981 Moving Pictures, calling it “probably an album that I just completely wore out.” (How cool would it be if he covered the Canadian rock band’s “Tom Sawyer” or “Limelight” someday?)
And if Rush seems a tad progressive, McGraw was also under the spell of Top 40 radio.
“The Journey records and all that stuff,” he said.