The story of Blake Shelton’s smash hit Boys ‘Round Here starts the same way the song does, with the Beatles.
Songwriters Dallas Davidson and Craig Wiseman were in Wiseman’s office when Davidson noticed the framed Beatles poster on the wall.
“I looked up at the wall and started thinking, man, I like the Beatles, who doesn’t like the Beatles,” Davidson told Radio.com. “But honestly where I grew up, we didn’t ride around listening to the Beatles. We rode around listening to Hank (Williams) Jr., and Lionel Richie, but not the Beatles. That just didn’t fit in our lifestyle.”
That observation became the song’s iconic opening line. “The boys ’round here don’t listen to the Beatles. We run old Bocephus through a jukebox needle at the honky-tonk, where their boots stomp, all night.”
From there, they, along with songwriter Rhett Akins, began to build outward, taking inspiration from small thoughts on Southern life. The song is full of those random thoughts about trucks, beers, girls, and Jesus from their lives. They even had a term a song built on those kinds of loose factoids.
“Craig calls it ‘The Hobo Soup Song,'” Akins said, according to SongFacts.com. “Hobo Soup is just whatever you’ve got, throw it in the pot and hopefully it will taste good [laughs]. We just threw every crazy thing we could think of into this song, from ‘chew tobacco, spit’ to ‘teach me how to dougie’ [laughs]. Dallas and I were obsessed with this ‘Dougie’ song at the time, and I don’t know how that made it into the song. I guess just from us being goofy.”
‘Boys ‘Round Here’ by Blake Shelton Is What It Is
The songwriters actually worried it was too goofy, but it turned out that it only added to the song’s charm for Blake Shelton.
“Boys ‘Round Here is a song that pretty much represents who I am as a human being,” he told Radio.com. It’s “a representation of the kind of people I surround myself with — just good old boys that work and listen to Hank Williams, Jr. And that’s about as deep as it gets.”
They all bought into that ‘it is what it is’ attitude, working off the sound rather than overthinking things. For example, one of the more memorable parts of the song is the “ooh, let’s ride” asides from The Pistol Annies. But that little addition wasn’t really thought through, Akins said. That came to be because he yawned as they worked on the demo and Davidson liked the way it sounded with the music.
“So the yawn turned into ‘Ooooooo, let’s ride,’ that Miranda (Lambert) and The Pistol Annies part. That just made the back half of the song totally different. It was a complete 180 to how the song was going,” Akins explains, according to Songfacts. “We were laughing and cutting up. A lot of the stuff like ‘What? (That’s right!)’ and ‘Country boy can survive’ — just all the crazy stuff in there — was just Craig and me and Dallas just cutting up.”
That loose, fun attitude comes through in the final product. And few could sell that as well as Blake Shelton with his homespun charm and charisma. It’s unlikely that many other artists would have been able to pull off the “chew tobacco, spit” line without it sounding hokey and contrived.