Cole Swindell Loops in Jo Dee Messina, Thomas Rhett for his 12th No. 1 Hit

Cole Swindell shares the story behind "She Had Me at Heads Carolina"

Cole Swindell learned the secret to back-to-back No. 1 songs might be some ‘90s country nostalgia. Swindell’s "She Had Me At Heads Carolina," which was co-written with Thomas Rhett, Jesse Frasure and Ashley Gorley, just became his third consecutive multi-week No. 1 song. “She Had Me at Heads Carolina” was inspired by Jo Dee Messina’s “Heads Carolina, Tails California” and is Swindell’s 12th No. 1 song.

"It was the weirdest, coolest process I've ever been involved with," Swindell told People of writing "She Had Me At Heads Carolina."

He grew up listening to Messina's hit, and the song transports him to carefree days in his hometown. Swindell had never put a new spin on a classic before, and when he got the idea, he was intrigued. He knew it could go either way – be a disgrace or make the entire album. “She Had Me At Heads Carolina” is from Swindell’s current “Stereotype” album – and it made the album.

"When me and Thomas Rhett were talking about it, we both knew it would be a huge idea, but we had to write it right. You can't mess up a classic hit like that," Swindell told People, adding that "She Had Me At Heads Carolina" was supposed to be a duet for him to sing with Thomas Rhett.

The sing-along favorite is inspired by a girl singing karaoke in bar. Originally, Rhett was going to be Swindell's wingman in the song. Swindell was uncomfortable with the idea because his friend is married with children.  He wanted to write the best angle they had, and he’s happy they did. He hopes they'll find a way for Rhett and Messina to perform on the song one day – and Messina appeared in the song’s video.

The songwriters played Swindell's "She Had Me At Heads Carolina" for Messina, and when she texted to say she liked it, Swindell says, "We were all kinda freaking out."

Swindell is nominated for two CMA Award nominations for Musical Event of the Year and Music Video of the Year with Lainey Wilson for his multi-week No. 1 duet single “Never Say Never.” “Never Say Never” was previously his fastest-rising single to date before “She Had Me At Heads Carolina” hit No. 1 on the Billboard country singles chart last week.

Swindell will launch his headlining Back Down To The Bar Tour with Ashley Cooke and Dylan Marlowe in Helotes, TX on Friday. For tour dates and to purchase tickets go to

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