Chris Stapleton shot to fame after his performance of "Tennessee Whiskey" and "Drink You Away" with Justin Timberlake at the 2015 CMA Awards went viral, but "Tennessee Whiskey" had been around for decades prior to that.

Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove wrote "Tennessee Whiskey," and it was first pitched to George Strait, who turned it down. David Allan Coe became the first country singer to cut the song, making it the title song of an album he released in 1981. His version peaked at No. 77 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, but George Jones' rendition fared better in 1983, reaching all the way to No. 2.

Stapleton cut the song in a bluesier, grittier version for his 2015 debut solo album, Traveller, and after the once-in-a-lifetime viral moment from the CMA Awards, his recording reached No. 1 within two days, helping catapult him to superstardom despite the fact that he never formally released "Tennessee Whiskey" as a single.

That's just one of the untold stories about "Tennessee Whiskey" that Taste of Country covered in a recent episode of The Secret History of Country Music, a weekly series hosted by Taste of Country News host Ania Hammar. Each episode explores the deeper stories behind some of country music's biggest stars, songs and moments.

Garth BrooksCarrie Underwood and Kid Rock are among the artists already featured, and episodes about Miranda Lambert and more are still to come. Be sure to subscribe to Taste of Country's YouTube channel so you never miss a new episode.

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