Country stars are almost speechless this Sunday (March 29) upon hearing the news that Joe Diffie, a country star treasured by so many of his peers, had passed away at just 61. One of the most popular country artists of the ’90s and early 2000s, Diffie died on Sunday from complications of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Here's what his friends, fans and followers are saying about the man who, as Granger Smith noted, inspired an entire generation:
In 2013, Jason Aldean released a tribute to Diffie with his "1994," written by Thomas Rhett, Luke Laird, and Barry Dean. At the time, Diffie had told CMT.com it was an honor. "It’s kind of flattering, yet uncomfortable at the same time. Talk about unexpected, you know? Someone told me that Thomas Rhett had co-written a song that mentioned me. And I thought, 'I wonder what he said about me in there?’ Because we’ve all heard songs in the past that mention Haggard or Jones, so I thought it might be something like that," Diffie had said. "When I heard it, I was stunned. I was like. ’You gotta be kidding me.’ It’s pretty flattering they went that far with it.
"It’s one thing to hear a song title or your name mentioned, but when it started into the ’Joe. Joe. Joe Diffie’ part, that’s cool right there.”
Aldean recruited Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Thomas Rhett, Jake Owen, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town and Florida Georgia Line for his "1994" video, knowing that they were all as influenced by Diffie's music as he was. The lyrics reference at least eight of Diffie’s hits, like “Pickup Man,” “Honky Tonk Attitude,” “So Help Me Girl,” “Third Rock from the Sun,” “C-O-U-N-T-R-Y," "John Deere Green" and more.