Story Behind the Song: David Ball, ‘Thinkin’ Problem’
David Ball co-wrote his 1994 single "Thinkin' Problem" with Allen Shamblin. A No. 2 song in the United States and a No. 1 in Canada, the track also earned Ball a Grammy nomination for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
Below, Ball tells The Boot how "Thinkin' Problem" came to be, in his own words.
This is a barroom song, and I came up through the clubs.
The song was written in stages, over a period of time. Allen Shamblin and I were both signed to a small publishing company in Nashville when we first came to town, and we were supposed to show up everyday at 10AM and write songs.
We didn't really write that much together, but one morning, Allen and I were both there at the office. We were just sitting in our little room, and Allen always gets right to the heart of a song. He asks me, "What would you think about a song called "Thinkin' Problem?"" And I said, "Well, does it kind of go something like this?" And we put together the chorus.
Then, sitting there right across from me, Allen just knocks out that first verse: "I wake up, and right away, her name is on my lips / Once the memories start to flow, I can't stop with just one sip."
At the time, we didn't know what we were really doing -- which is a great way to write songs, actually, when you don't know what you're doing! So the chorus was a little convoluted, and then about six months went by. But I always loved the idea of this song, and I loved that first verse. So I sat down six months or so later and wrote a second verse and straightened the chorus out a little.
I was playing with a little band in Texas at the time, and it was on the bandstand that the song just finished itself. That intro thing actually happened on the bandstand -- I extended the timing twice as much. I dragged out the, "Yes, I admi-i-i-t ... !" Whereas when we wrote it, it was just a short, "Yes, I admit, I've got a thinkin' problem ..."
So the song all seemed to come together on the bandstand. I always thought it would be a hit record, if I ever got a chance to record it. So when the chance to record it came along about four years later, I had this song ready to go!
This story was originally written by Marianne Horner, and revised by Angela Stefano.
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