Top 30 Soldier Songs: #10 – “I Want You To Live” by George Canyon
Many of you may not have even known this song existed, but when I was researching for this list I came across a very powerful and effective ballad by the first season runner-up of Nashville Star, George Canyon, who now has made a huge career in Canada’s country venue. In 2007 he released what would become a top 10 hit in Canada with “I Want You To Live”, a powerful dedication to both American and Canadian armed forces.
George, an Honourary Colonel at 14 Wing Greenwood, the largest air base of the east coast, seems to have always had a soft spot for the armed forces. This was not the first song he recorded for soldiers, but it is one of his best and one of his most popular among American fans as well as Canadian. The video, which streams on YouTube, has had an enormous following and features actual soldiers from the Canadian armed forces. The song itself narrates a story of a wife who fears for the safety of her husband who is in the line of duty at the time. With it comes a powerful and sincere rendition from Canyon that all culminates in a tear-jerking conclusion that puts even Tim McGraw’s “If You’re Reading This” to shame (by the way if anyone was wondering why that song wasn’t higher on the list, this song is one of the culprits responsible).
The story depicted through this song is one of love and dedication. A soldier’s wife worries for her husband in the line of duty after he goes to war and throughout the song is tortured by the possibility that the man she loves won’t return to her alive. Most of the story’s significance is depicted well through the video, which starts out with the wife receiving a call. The scene shifts to the soldier leaving and while he is in battle with his buddy (Canyon) they are ambushed and the story comes back around to that phone call which initially seemed to be one of bad news, but was actually from the soldier’s cell phone in the front yard. The song’s shifts through three phases first the call and the second verse revolves around the wife being tortured by her missing her man throughout even the simplest everyday activity. Finally the letter home is revealed which, in the video, turns out to be from George to his wife living next door to the main character. It is this letter that creates the most powerful meaning behind this song as the soldier who has died in battle simply tells his wife that he wants her to live and to move on.
The whole thing sounds chaotic and that’s because it is. Both the song and the video depict the chaos and intesity behind leaving one’s family to serve and being that family that has to wait and see if your loved one will come back even in one piece. It is song like this that show how clowded the American country genre can be. This song, one of George’s best in his career, has become a favorite among the masses of youtube and myspace fanatics in our time of war simply by touching on the connection of the family to the soldier and vice versa and providing and first hand look into the lives of these families. It’s a pity that this song was never considered for American radio, but anyone who has yet to hear this song is missing one of the best soldier song’s the modern era has to offer.