Tippin, 43, says he had written the song with Kenny Beard
and Casey Beathard more than two years ago, but it didn't make the cut for his
last album. "I didn't know why it didn't make the album," Tippin says. "But
now, I know exactly why it didn't. It had a bigger purpose."
Tippin and Lyric Street Records plan to donate the proceeds
from the single's sale to the American Red Cross. It shipped 100,000 copies
Nearly a month after the attacks, some country stations
are playing The Star-Spangled Banner three times a day. "If we put it
in there," says Radio & Records country editor Lon Helton, "Faith Hill's
Star-Spangled Banner would be in the top 30 of our chart. I had a programmer
tell me the other day, 'If you know any other artists, tell them to go in and
cut it we need more versions.' "
The Dixie Chicks have done just that, posting the song
on their Web site.
"People are writing songs, and artists are looking for
songs that say something, that address the feelings of the nation," says Woody
Bomar, a senior vice president at Sony ATV Music in Nashville.
"In the week that followed, we must have had 50 or 60 (such)
songs come in," says RCA Label Group chairman Joe Galante. He says none of RCA's
artists recorded any of that material. "We would have been playing on the moment,
and it wouldn't have felt right."
That's less of a problem for artists such as Tippin, who
are expected to comment in times of national crisis. "That's germane to who
(Tippin) is," says Lyric Street Records president Randy Goodman. "If there's
anybody who's going to say it, Aaron should say it."
Stars and Stripes already has become an emotional
high point in Tippin's shows.
At a recent show in Georgia, Tippin recalls seeing "a big
ol' burly guy, sitting right down in the front row. You could tell he'd slap
your teeth out of your head if you looked at him crossways. I start to play
this song, I get into the first verse, I look down and that big gopher's crying.
I have to look somewhere else, because I start getting choked up."