Carrie Underwood scored her sixth No. 1 hit on the Billboard Country Airplay chart when “Last Name” ascended to the top spot on June 21, 2008.
Just three years after winning the fourth season of American Idol in 2005, Carrie Underwood had already become a darling of the country charts. Her 2005 debut album, Some Hearts, featured a string of hits, including “Jesus, Take the Wheel” (No. 1), “Don’t Forget to Remember Me” (No. 2), “Before He Cheats” (No. 1), and “Wasted” (No. 1).
When Carrie was ready to release her sophomore album, Carnival Ride, in 2007, she kept the momentum mounting with lead single, “So Small,” which she co-penned with Hillary Lindsey and Luke Laird. Once again, Carrie’s tune found the top of the chart, marking her first No. 1 as a songwriter. The album’s sophomore single, “All-American Girl,” followed suit.
When it was time to release the album’s third single, Carrie picked another collaboration with Hillary and Luke, “Last Name.”
Carrie revealed the song title’s impetus was based on a real encounter she experienced during a post-Oscar party.
“I met a guy at an after-party and asked him his last name three times, but it never stuck,” said Carrie to USA Today in 2007. “He got my number, we talked a few times, and I didn’t know what his last name was. I was way past the point where I should have known his last name, and if I asked him, I knew it would offend him.”
During her co-write with Hillary and Luke in January 2007, Carrie shared her after-party story with her collaborators.
“Luke and I made the same face, like we knew we had a song idea that had to be written,” Hillary told Country Weekly in 2008. “A lot of times writing appointments can be so serious. It was so fun to write this one because it was so lighthearted.”
After about an hour, the trio finished the tune.
Carrie Brings Home the Hardware
Carrie released “Last Name” on April 7, 2008. Less than three months later on June 21, 2008, “Last Name” reached the top of the Billboard Country Airplay chart. Carrie had scored her sixth country chart-topper, as well as her third No. 1 as a songwriter.
At the Grammy Awards in 2009, “Last Name” earned Carrie the trophy for Best Female Vocal Performance. Carrie bested Martina McBride (“For These Times”), LeAnn Rimes (“What I Cannot Change”), Lee Ann Womack (“Last Call”), and Trisha Yearwood (“This Is Me You’re Talking To”) to win her fourth Grammy.
In May 2011, the RIAA certified “Last Name” as Platinum for sales of 1 million units. The song’s video served as a prequel to “Before He Cheats.” Of course, Carrie found her real-life match when she married Mike Fisher in 2010.