Before He Cheats

Infobox Single
Name = Before He Cheats

Artist = Carrie Underwood
from Album = Some Hearts
Released = August 2006
Format = Digital download
Recorded =
Genre = Country, blues, rock
Length = 3:19 (Album)
Label = Arista Records
Writer = Chris Tompkins, Josh Kear
Producer = Mark Bright
Certification = 2× Multi-Platinum (RIAA)
Last single = "Don't Forget to Remember Me"
This single = "Before He Cheats"
Next single = "Wasted"
Misc = External music video|" [ Before He Cheats] " at

"Before He Cheats" is a song written by Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear and the third wide-release single from Carrie Underwood's debut album, "Some Hearts". It was the fifth release from the album overall. It was named the 2007 Single of the Year by the Country Music Association. It is Underwood's most successful single to date, with sales of over 2.44 million digital downloads. It is the second most sold single from an "American Idol" contestant "No Air" being the first, and the third longest-charting single in the history of the Hot 100.

The song

"Before He Cheats" tells the story of a woman taking revenge on her potentially unfaithful boyfriend. She imagines him at a bar flirting with a "bleach-blond" girl hoping to be "getting lucky" with her. In retaliation, she vandalizes his car by scratching it with a key, carving her name into its leather seats, smashing the headlights with a baseball bat and slashing the tires. She hopes that this will make him "think before he cheats" again. There is no evidence in the lyrics that he actually "is" cheating.

Music video

The music video for "Before He Cheats" was directed by Roman White.cite web|title=Videos: Carrie Underwood, "Before He Cheats"|url=||accessdate=2008-02-15] In the beginning of the video Underwood is seen going out to a parking lot with a Louisville Slugger because she has just vandalized her boyfriend's four-wheel drive for cheating on her. In other scenes, the "boyfriend" (Actor - Tabb Shoup) is seen kissing another woman. As the video progresses Underwood takes the stage to sing as various objects behind her, such as lamps, are seen exploding. At one point, a screen shot of the front seat of the car is seen with Underwood's name carved in it, which she mentions during the chorus of the song. Eventually, she catches up with her cheating boyfriend with the other woman. After looking shocked for a second, she scoffs and hands him the keys to his now-demolished truck. Towards the end Underwood walks down a street, singing along with the song, while different objects are shown flying across the air, glasses are seen shattering, and light bulbs explode paying homage to Brian de Palma's Carrie. At the very end of the music video, the car is shown completely destroyed.

The early scenes in the video featuring a crowd in a narrow street and Underwood in a parking garage, were filmed in and around Printer's Alley in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The final scene, featuring the exploding glass and light bulbs, was filmed on Fourth Avenue just north of Church Street in Nashville.

"Before He Cheats" made GAC music video history by debuting at number one. It also marks the third consecutive number-one music video on GAC for Underwood. It made history on CMT's Top Twenty Countdown for being at number one for a consecutive five weeks. In December 2006, "Before He Cheats" was named the best video of 2006 by CMT's Top 20 Countdown. It also finished number two in GAC's Video of the Year for 2006 behind Trace Adkins's "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk". Proving its crossover success, the video made a debut at number 15 on the "VSpot Top 20 Countdown", peaking at number 4.

The video premiered on MTV's "Total Request Live" in April 2007, this is the second country music video to be premiered in this program, the first being "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" by Jessica Simpson. The video went on the make a #10 debut on June 5 2007, over a month after its premiere.

On April 16 2007, the video for "Before He Cheats" swept the CMT Music Awards, winning three categories: Video of the Year, Female Video of the Year, and Director of the Year. Underwood made history by being the first female to win Video of the Year.

The video also garnered Carrie a 2007 MTV Video Music Award nomination in the category of Best New Artist.

During an NBC Sunday Night Football telecast of a Cowboys-Giants game, the song was played over the Dallas offensive lineup announcements after Underwood broke up with Dallas QB Tony Romo.

The music video was ranked #9 on CMT's 100 Greatest Videos. [>cite web | title=100 Greatest Videos |url=|accessdate=2008-07-29]

Chart performance

"Before He Cheats" first appeared on the charts in February of 2006. Although it had not at that point been released as a single, many country stations began giving the song unsolicited airplay, leading it to debut on Billboard's Hot Country Songs at #59. By the time the song was officially released as "Some Hearts" third single in August of that year, it had already racked up twenty non-consecutive weeks on the chart, reaching as high as #49. After the official release, the song climbed the country charts quickly, reaching #1 in November and remaining there for five weeks. It also managed to debut on the Hot 100 at #92, and by November it had reached #16 on that chart. A controversy involving Faith Hill's reaction to Underwood's win for Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2006 CMAs (at which Underwood performed "Before He Cheats") helped bring attention and sales to the single. By the end of 2006, the song began to slowly descend the charts, and it had appeared the single had peaked.

However, Top 40 radio began to take notice of the song in February 2007, around the time of Underwood's Grammy wins. As the single increased its top 40 airplay, it began to rebound on the Hot 100. The new airplay, along with attention from numerous award show wins for the song, such as favorite country song at the 2007 People's Choice Awards in January and Video of the Year at the 2007 CMTs in April, reinvigorated digital sales as well. Eventually the single managed to climb into the top 15 in its 33rd chart week, the longest climb to that level in the history of the chart. [ [] "" Retrieved on 05-24-07 ] When it finally peaked at number 8 in May 2007, it had already logged 38 weeks on the chart, making it the longest trek to the top 10 ever. As pop airplay began dying down, the song got a third life on the adult contemporary format, which began playing the song in May. "Before He Cheats" spent 64 consecutive weeks on the Hot 100, before finally falling off in late November of 2007. The song is the third-longest charting single on the Hot 100, following LeAnn Rimes's "How Do I Live" and Jewel's "You Were Meant For Me"/"Foolish Games". It is the longest running hit so far this decade.

"Before He Cheats" has sold over 2,440,000 downloads, making it the most-downloaded country song ever. The song was certified 2× Platinum in digital sales by the RIAA in February 2008, making it the first country song to ever to do so. It is the best selling single from an "American Idol" contestant, and Underwood's best selling single to date. It has sold over one million ringtones. In Canada, it is officially certified as Platinum.

"Before He Cheats" was ranked sixth on the 2007 Hot 100 Year-End Chart and fifth on the 2007 Hot 100 Airplay Year-End Chart by Billboard Magazine. It was also ranked tenth on the 2007 Adult Contemporary Year-End Chart.


The song has drawn criticism for its glorification of violence as a justified response to the infidelity suffered by the subject of the song. For example, Glenn Sacks, an American men's and fathers' issues columnist and radio broadcaster, cited "Before He Cheats" as an example of the "double standard about domestic violence [that] manifests itself in ... popular culture". [ [] "" ] Sacks notes that a "song and a video approving of a violent, jealous man destroying his girlfriend's car" would likely receive dissimilar treatment, and undoubtedly draw widespread criticism. Also cited is the fact that, in reality, someone vandalizing their boyfriend's car would not simply get away with it and come out on top.

Cover versions

R&B singer Joe performed a cover version of the song as a Pepsi Smash exclusive on Yahoo! Music. He changed the lyrics to fit a male's perspective and titled his version "Before I Cheat". He also changed the lyrics from "Shania karaoke" to "Mariah karaoke". [ [] "" ]

A dance cover version was also released by Jackie 'O'. [ [ Almighty | Jackie 'O' | Before He Cheats ] ]

On the second annual "Idol Gives Back" special, Teri Hatcher and Band from TV covered the song. The performance takes place after a scene in which Hatcher's TV husband (James Denton) fixes Underwood's sink prompting Hatcher to then "steal her song" because Underwood "tried to steal her man."


*The 2007 People's Choice Award for Favorite Country Song
*The 2007 CMT Music Awards for "Female Video of the Year" and "Video of the Year"
*The 2007 Academy of Country Music Award for "Video of the Year"
*The 2007 Country Music Association Award for "Single of the Year"
*50th Annual Grammy Award Best Country Song
*50th Annual Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance

*50th Annual Grammy Award for Song of the Year
*The 2007 Academy of Country Music Awards for "Song of the Year" and "Single of the Year"
*MTV Video Music Award for "Best New Artist in a Video"
*The 2007 Country Music Association Awards for "Song of the Year" and "Video of the Year"
*Teen Choice Awards 2007 for "Payback Track"




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