Sure, after nearly a decade since its 2012 release, it’s impossible to imagine anyone other than Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard harmonizing that a love they’re pining for is like “a song,” and makes them “wanna roll [their] windows down.” However, in a recent interview for A Taste of Country’s “Secret History” series, the song’s co-writer Chase Rice noted that, because he was “more established,” he wanted Luke Bryan to record the eventual diamond-selling cut.
“I wanted Luke Bryan or somebody big to cut it. And luckily they took it and made it what it was. Because at that time, nobody knew who they were. They know now,” he says. Rice adds, “Brian [Kelley] was a huge believer in it. He was like, ’Dude, this is huge, this is monstrous,'” Rice recalls. “I didn’t really see it at the time, but I’m glad he did.”
At the time of its writing, Luke Bryan was an emerging hitmaker with his single “Drunk On You” both reaching the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Charts, plus crossing over into the top-20 of the all-genre Hot 100. Even without the aid of a then-emerging superstar like Bryan, “Cruise” achieved becoming the first-ever diamond-selling country single, plus, two years after its release — and spurred by a remix featuring Nelly, became — as of that time — country music’s best-selling digital single in history.
Regarding the song’s timelessness, Tyler Hubbard told Billboard the following in a 2017 interview:
“It was the song that jump-started our career and just set so many things in motion — and a lot of great memories with that song. And I think every night we get to sing it on stage, we kind of re-live those memories and the coming-up years. That represents that for us.”