Jimmie Allen's "Best Shot" lyrics were almost very different than the ones you hear on country radio.

The original version of "Best Shot" was a cross between a rock band and one of the biggest acts in modern country music before it became Allen's mellow acoustic debut single that claimed the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Country Airplay chart in 2018. Co-writer Josh London recalls that Allen had the idea and melody for the song. Another writer was involved in the process, but ultimately bowed out. But Allen was persistent, continuously revisiting "Best Shot" with London and co-writer J.P. Williams. London says the chorus was the first part of the song that came to life, and was written after Allen presented the melody for the line, "'Cause when you smile / I see the sun sink down on a coast out in California."

"I'm a vibe guy," Allen professes. "So when a melody gets in my head and I can't forget it, I'm like, 'I don't know what the heck this song is going to be about, but it feels good.' I feel like that's what really pulls people towards songs is the feelings before the lyric. So that melody was just so strong in my head."

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The singer reveals that the demo of the song had a very different sound before they landed on the simplistic arrangement fans hear on the radio. "We had an uptempo, like rock version of it. It was like Nickelback meets [Florida Georgia Line]," he describes of "Best Shot," which was written in about a week. "And then we were like, 'Yeah, that's not it.'"

A performance at the Bluebird Cafe helped solidify the song's identity. Known for its intimate setting, Allen performed an acoustic rendition of the then-rockin' song using just his voice and guitar. After the show, his manager Ash Bowers approached him and asked why he hadn't shared the song with him previously.

"I said, 'I sent you that song,' he said, 'You didn't send me the song sounding like that,'" Allen recalls. "So that's how 'Best Shot' kind of came to exist."

Allen's single made history and also makes him the first African-American artist to launch a career in country music with a No. 1 song, at Nashville venue, the Local. It's the site where the newcomer performed his showcase for Broken Bow Records and signed his record label deal. It's also where he, Williams and London performed "Best Shot" together for the first time. The monumental occasion reminded Allen of how his co-writers were the first people he wrote with after earning a publishing deal in 2016.

"It was one of them things where we were just three guys in the room that had nothing to lose but everything to prove," Allen insists of writing the "Best Shot" lyrics. Two years later, they were celebrating the first No. 1 song of their careers.

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