Country Acts Score With Revived '80s Hit
Sugarland, Little Big Town and Jake Owen, three acts that toured together last fall, are also climbing the chart together this spring.Sugarland, Little Big Town and Jake Owen, three acts that toured together last fall, are also climbing the chart together this spring.
Their version of "Life in a Northern Town," a mid-'80s hit for the Dream Academy, is No. 50 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, thanks to significant airplay at radio stations in Minneapolis, Detroit and Sarasota, Fla., among other markets.
But the song is not a single and doesn't appear on any album. Stations are playing a live version of the song, taken from last fall's CMT tour, on which all three acts performed. The audio is taken from an exclusive video airing on CMT, cmt.com and CMT Canada.
Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles says the song, marked by its "Hey, na, na, na, na" chorus, was the perfect choice for the acts to perform as a show closer. "Between us, our band, Little Big Town and Jake Owen, we had a choir so we thought the big chorus would sound beautiful," she says. "It did."
And even though Sugarland has a lot of young fans, Nettles says the song still connects. "I definitely see people recognize the song; some from the first few lines."
The original version peaked at No. 2 on the Adult Contemporary chart and No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1986. Nettles says she hopes the new version sends fans "running to the Internet to hear the original. That sort of sharing of musical heritage and influence across genre is important to me."
Listeners are reacting. "There has been a ton of response on it, people wanting to know where they can get it, if it's going to be on a CD-for awhile it was the most-requested thing we played," says KEEY Minneapolis PD Gregg Swedberg.
A spokeswoman for Sugarland's label, Mercury Nashville, says there aren't any plans for the song to be released commercially. All three acts will perform the song tonight (April 14) at the 2008 CMT Music Awards.