"Don't Take The Girl" is a song written by Craig Martin and Larry W. Johnson, and recorded by American country music artist Tim McGraw. It was released in March 1994 as the second single from his album Not a Moment Too Soon. The song was McGraw's fifth single overall, and his first number-one single on the Hot Country Songs chart. It reached number one on the Canadian country charts as well and it was also a successful pop song, reaching number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song's storyEdit

The song tells the story of two young lovers dealing with difficult scenarios at three different stages in their lives. In each situation, the man does all he can to make sure different people "don't take the girl."

1.) In the first verse, the young man (Johnny) is eight years old, about to go on a fishing trip with his father. A young, unnamed girl, apparently Johnny's age, is also present, with a fishing pole in her hand. Johnny doesn't want the girl to come fishing with them. So he begs his father to "take any boy in the world / Daddy please, don't take the girl".

2.) The song's second verse finds Johnny and the girl ten years later as teenagers--the two have since fallen in love and are now dating. As Johnny and his girlfriend are leaving a date at the local movie theater, they encounter a lone robber with a gun. The robber grabs the girl and tells Johnny to give in to his demands. Johnny surrenders his wallet (with money and credit cards in it), a watch that his grandfather gave him, and even his car keys so that the girl would be safe (in the music video, the crook's only seen running away with the wallet).

3.) Verse three takes place five years after the second verse. At this point, Johnny and the girl are now (presumably) married and expecting their first child, and the girl is eventually rushed to the hospital to have her baby delivered. The baby (a boy) is safely delivered, but the doctor informs Johnny that his wife is "fading fast" (presumably dying of childbirth complications). Johnny then collapses to his knees and prays to God that his wife survives, even asking that his own life be taken instead of his wife's as long as she's okay (in the music video, it's revealed that Johnny's wife does indeed survive).

The song ends with a repeat of the opening line of the song: "Johnny's daddy was taking him fishin' when he was eight years old," leaving the listener with the impression that the cycle has begun to repeat itself.

Critical receptionEdit

Deborah Evans Price, of Billboard magazine reviewed the song favorably, saying that the song has the listeners "crying in their beer in the dancehalls down in Texas." Price goes on to say that once radio gets a hold of it, the song will take off.

Music videoEdit

This was McGraw's second music video. It was directed by Sherman Halsey. It shows 5 actors, playing Johnny, his dad, the girl, the robber & the doctor. Intercut with McGraw, performing in front of dark blue lights.

Charts and certificationsEdit

"Don't Take the Girl" debuted at number 71 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks for the week of April 2, 1994.