Girl Crush

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"Girl Crush"
Single by Little Big Town
from the album Pain Killer
ReleasedDecember 15, 2014 (2014-12-15)
LabelCapitol Nashville
Producer(s)Jay Joyce
Little Big Town singles chronology
"Day Drinking"
"Girl Crush"
"Smokin' and Drinkin'"

"Girl Crush" is a song written by Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose, and performed by American country music group Little Big Town. It was released on December 15, 2014 as the second single from their sixth studio album, Pain Killer.[1] The song received mostly positive reviews from music critics, won five music awards, including two Grammys (Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Country Song), reached number one on US country radio, ended up being the second-most played song of 2015 on the format, and is certified Quintuple Platinum in the US.


As CMT's Alison Bonaguro wrote, the song is "about a girl obsessing over another girl because that girl stole her lover ... On the other hand, it could also be about a girl obsessing over the girl who is with the man that she wants but has never had." Bonaguro added that it is not a girl crush (on another girl) per se, but rather a girl desiring to taste her rival's lips in order to taste him and "to drown in her perfume, to have her long blond hair — and so on — all in an effort to get him back".[2]

Lori McKenna stated that when she presented the idea to co-writer Liz Rose that Rose disliked the idea at first but that Rose changed her mind after hearing the first verse that Hillary Lindsey had written. Group members Kimberly Schlapman and Karen Fairchild heard the song and asked that it be saved for them.[3]


"Girl Crush" is in the key of C major and a 6/8 time signature, with an approximate tempo of 58 dotted quarter notes per minute and a primary chord pattern of C-Em-F-G. Karen Fairchild's lead vocals range from G3-A4.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

"Girl Crush" received critical acclaim. CMT's Alison Bonaguro writes, "If anyone knows how to write a country song that's never been written before, it's these three": Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, and Liz Rose. Billy Dukes of Taste of Country states, "Karen Fairchild's lead on Little Big Town's new single 'Girl Crush' may be the best vocal performance of the year. Her anguish drives through you like a steam engine, and afterward she's nothing but a puff of white smoke barely holding on to existence."[5] Dukes adds, "listen to the song on repeat and find yourself exhausted … in the best possible way" and "mass homogeny on the radio makes it seem impossible to create a sound or write a song that's truly unique. It's as if all the good ideas have been used up. Little Big Town prove this is not the case on each album they release."

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Result
2015 Country Music Association Awards Song of the Year Won
Single of the Year Won
Music Video of the Year Nominated
2016 Grammy Awards Best Country Duo/Group Performance Won
Song of the Year Nominated
Best Country Song Won
Academy of Country Music Single Record of the Year Nominated
Song of the Year Nominated
Video of the Year Nominated
CMT Music Awards Group/Duo Video of the Year [A] Won
CMT Performance of the Year [B] Nominated
A^ "Girl Crush" as performed by Little Big Town.
B^ "Girl Crush" as performed by Adam Lambert and Leona Lewis was nominated as 2016 CMT Performance of the Year for their rendition of the song on the "CMT Artists of the Year" TV special on December 2, 2015. Their performance was in honor of Little Big Town in recognition of CMT's selection of the group as a "CMT Artist of the Year."

Commercial performance[edit]

"Girl Crush" debuted at number 48 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for the week ending November 8, 2014, before it was released as a single. It reached number one and remained there for thirteen consecutive weeks until it was knocked off by "Kick the Dust Up" by Luke Bryan. It debuted at number 55 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart for the week ending December 27, 2014. "Girl Crush" sold 10,000 copies in its debut week of November 8, 2014.[6] The song reached more than two million in sales by early February 2016.[7] As of November 2019, "Girl Crush" had sold 2,550,000 copies in the United States.[8] In August, 2020 the single was certified 5x multi-Platinum.[9]

"Girl Crush" is Little Big Town's highest charting single on Billboard's all-genre Hot 100 chart, having peaked at number 18 for the week ending May 9, 2015 chart, besting the number 22 peak of "Pontoon" in 2012.[10] It is also their highest showing on the Canadian Hot 100, besting the number 39 position of "Pontoon" in 2012. It is also their longest-running number one single, 13 weeks atop Hot Country Songs. It broke the record set by The Browns' 1959 hit "The Three Bells" as the longest-running number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart by a group of three or more members.[11]

Some radio stations were reported to have pulled "Girl Crush" from their playlists, in response to concerns from listeners who interpreted the song to be about lesbianism. In response, Fairchild said, "That's just shocking to me, the close-mindedness of that, when that's just not what the song was about…But what if it were? It's just a greater issue of listening to a song for what it is." In addition, the label created a short commercial in which the band discusses the song and its actual meaning.[12] Billboard consulted several radio program directors on its panel and found only one who detailed a specific complaint from a listener; the magazine concluded that the controversy surrounding the song was mostly fabricated.[13]

Music video[edit]

The music video is in black-and-white.[14] It was directed by Karla and Matthew Welch and premiered in April 2015. The music video was filmed in Los Angeles, California and produced by Meritocracy Inc.[15] The music video is nominated for a 2016 Academy of Country Music Award for Video of the Year.[16]

Live performances[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[49] 6× Platinum 6,000,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Future Releases - Country". AllAccess Music Group. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  2. ^ Bonaguro, Alison. "I'm Crushing on Little Big Town's "Girl Crush"". Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  3. ^ Rodman, Sarah (15 December 2014). "Lori McKenna Reveals Her 'Girl Crush'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  4. ^ "'Girl Crush' sheet music". 20 March 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  5. ^ Dukes, Billy (2 December 2014). "Little Big Town, 'Girl Crush' – ToC Critic's Pick [Listen]". Taste of Country. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  6. ^ Bjorke, Matt (29 October 2014). "Country Music's Top 30 Digital Singles: October 29, 2014". Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  7. ^ Brian Cantor (8 February 2016). "Little Big Town's "Girl Crush" crosses the 2 million US sales mark". Headline Planet.
  8. ^ Bjorke, Matt (November 30, 2019). "Top 30 Digital Country Songs: November 24, 2019". Rough Stock. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
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  11. ^ Asker, Jim. "Kacey Musgraves 'Material'-izes at No. 1 on Country Chart; Little Big Town Ties Record". Billboard. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  12. ^ Yahr, Emily (25 March 2015). "Why stations are pulling Little Big Town's 'Girl Crush' — and what that says about country radio". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  13. ^ Stark, Phyllis (27 March 2015). "Controversy Over Little Big Town's 'Girl Crush' & Its 'Lesbian Theme' Is Mostly Fabricated". Billboard. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Music Video Of The Year". 11 December 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  15. ^ "CMT : Videos : Little Big Town : Girl Crush". Country Music Television. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  16. ^ "Nominees". ACM Awards. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016.
  17. ^ "Little Big Town Performs 'Girl Crush'". YouTube. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  18. ^ Bell, Rebekah (April 2015). "Little Big Town Perform 'Girl Crush' on 'The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon' [Watch]". Taste of Country. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  19. ^ Lynch, Joe. "Little Big Town Bring Provocative 'Girl Crush' to 2015 ACMs". Billboard. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  20. ^ Lynch, Joe. "2015 Billboard Music Awards: 10 Best Performances". Billboard. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  21. ^ "Little Big Town Performs 'Girl Crush' at the 2015 CMA Awards". Billboard. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  22. ^ "Little Big Town Performs 'Girl Crush' at the 2016 Grammys". Billboard. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  23. ^ Scott, Jason. "Kelly Clarkson offers smooth cover of Little Big Town's 'Girl Crush': Watch". AXS. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  24. ^ McMaster, Sean (15 January 2015). "Dark-Haired Miranda Lambert Sings 'Girl Crush' With Gwen Sebastian at Surprise Club Show Read More: Dark-Haired Miranda Lambert Sings 'Girl Crush' With Gwen Sebastian at Surprise Club Show". Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  25. ^ "Halestorm - Girl Crush (Little Big Town cover)". YouTube. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  26. ^ Dukes, Billy (14 April 2015). "Meghan Linsey Brings Her 'Girl Crush' to 'The Voice'". Taste of Country. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  27. ^ Anderson, Danielle (14 April 2015). "See The Voice's Meghan Linsey 'Kick the Dog Poo' out of Little Big Town's 'Girl Crush'". People. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  28. ^ "Meghan Linsey Album & Song Chart History - Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  29. ^ "Meghan Linsey Album & Song Chart History - Bubbling Under Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  30. ^ "Lauren Alaina - Girl Crush". YouTube.
  31. ^ "CMT Artists Of The Year 2015". Retrieved 2015-12-16.
  32. ^ "CMT Music Awards Nominations: The Complete List". Billboard. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  33. ^ "Watch Harry Styles' Evocative Take on Little Big Town's 'Girl Crush'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
  34. ^ "Harry Styles Releases Pair of Gorgeous 'Spotify Singles' Featuring Little Big Town Cover". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
  35. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2022 Singles" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  36. ^ "Julien Baker - Girl Crush". YouTube. July 24, 2018.
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  38. ^ "Little Big Town Chart History (Canada Country)". Billboard.
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  41. ^ "Little Big Town Chart History (Country Airplay)". Billboard.
  42. ^ "Little Big Town Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  43. ^ "Little Big Town Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard.
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  45. ^ "Best of 2015: Hot 100 Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2015. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  46. ^ "Best of 2015: Country Airplay". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2015. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  47. ^ "Best of 2015: Hot Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2015. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  48. ^ "Decade-End Charts: Hot Country Songs". Billboard. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
  49. ^ "American single certifications – Little Big Town – Girl Crush". Recording Industry Association of America.