Since its release in 1996, “Time Marches On” became a signature hit for Tracy Lawrence, spending three weeks at No. 1. The song also earned a Single of the Year nomination from the Country Music Association, and Academy of Country Music Awards nominations for Single Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
However, in a recent Instagram post, Lawrence revealed that another country star nearly beat him to recording the song.
“I found ’Time Marches On’ from Bobby Braddock,” Lawrence said, referencing the legendary songwriter who has penned hits including George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” the Jones/Tammy Wynette hit “Golden Ring,” Wynette’s “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” and Billy Currington’s “People Are Crazy,” among others. “I was sitting in Don Cook’s office, my producer at the time. We were preparing and looking for music for this album, and Bobby had come in and said he had just got this mix finished up…I was sitting in Cook’s office over at Sony Tree and Bobby brought the song in, played it for us, and I immediately fell in love with it and I had put it on hold right then.”
The only problem was, another country artist had also fallen hard for the song.
“In the music business when you put a song on hold, it means that it is yours and nobody else is going to cut it and they will honor your hold…it’s like a code of honor in the music business,” Lawrence said. “I don’t know that it exists that much anymore but back in 1995, a code of honor meant a whole lot in the music business. That ship has probably sailed. But Anyway to prove that code of honor, Bobby wasn’t real sure, so we said yes we were going to record it, and he immediately left there and took the song to Ronnie Dunn. Ronnie Dunn tried to put it on hold because he wanted to record it then, too, but we already had a hold on it so we ended up getting to record it.
“So it came that close to being a Brooks & Dunn song,” Lawrence said.