Remember When Luke Bryan Scored a No. 1 Hit With a Song Dedicated to His Late Siblings?
Luke Bryan is one of country music's brightest, most optimistic personalities, but his happy public face hides quite a bit of heartache. The country superstar scored one of the most impactful songs of his career with "Drink a Beer," a song that he dedicated to his late siblings. "Drink a Beer" reached No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart on Feb. 15, 2014.
Jim Beavers and a then-lesser-known singer-songwriter named Chris Stapleton co-wrote "Drink a Beer," which describes the narrator's feelings when he receives the unexpected news of the death of someone close to him. Amid his confusion, he decides to deal with the loss in the old familiar way that is one of country music's most common themes.
"So I'm gonna sit right here / On the edge of this pier / Watch the sunset disappear / And drink a beer," Bryan sings in the emotional chorus, with Stapleton providing backing vocals.
The song is powerful all on its own, but Bryan's backstory lifted it to another level entirely. The singer's brother, Chris, died in a car accident in 1996 at the age of 26, just as Bryan was preparing to leave his native Georgia to pursue his dreams of country music stardom. The tragedy caused Bryan to put his plans on hold for several years.
Bryan finally headed to Nashville in 2001, signed a deal and began recording his debut album, I'll Stay Me, when tragedy struck his family again. Bryan's sister, Kelly, died unexpectedly at the age of 39 when she was alone at home with her young son. Authorities were unable to determine her cause of death, leaving her devastated family with no answers.
Bryan debuted "Drink a Beer" in an impassioned performance at the 2013 CMA Awards on Nov. 6, 2013, dedicating it to his siblings' memory in a massive viral moment from the show. At the end of his performance, a picture of all three of them appeared on the screen behind him with the inscription, "In Memory of Chris & Kelly."
He released the song as the third single from his Crash My Party album on Nov. 11, and the song resonated so strongly with fans that it reached No. 1 just months later. It stayed at the top of the chart for five weeks, giving Bryan one of the biggest hits of his career.
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