A Nashville songwriter who has penned hits for everyone from Trace Adkins to Blake Shelton has written a special song for his daughter's senior class.
The tune may wind up on the radio one day, but it will never be the class song for Hickman County High School's class of 2013 after school officials put their foot down.
Phil O'Donnell is no stranger to Music Row, and it isn't uncommon to see him strumming a guitar next to Taylor Swift or attending a No. 1 party for a recent hit. But it's his song Drink It Up that is generating a heated debate in Hickman County.
Though alcohol is never mentioned, and the lyrics are about living life to the fullest, the principal said it sends a bad message to have an official class song that glamorizes drinking.
"It's not about drinking or drugs or anything. It's about living your life, and that's what they're fixing to do," said parent Tina Teet Price.
About 50 parents went all the way to the school board this week, hoping to reverse the principal's position. So far, Drink It Up is out.
"He wrote it specifically for our children. It's not just a random parent. He's an accomplished country music songwriter known in the industry," said parent Stephanie Warren.
School officials didn't want to talk on camera but said they don't have a problem with the message of the song itself. It's just the title, with an innuendo towards drinking, that makes it an inappropriate for an "official" school song.
For O'Donnell's part, he's indifferent. He said it would be great if they allowed the song but understands if they don't.
However, a lot of parents don't see it that way. They say they are insulted that something so beautiful has been misunderstood.
"The principal doesn't seem to have enough faith in the students of Hickman County or the population of Hickman County to know that," said parent Robyn Jones. "Anyone can listen to that song and know that and understand the meaning behind it. The word 'drink' is not a word of profanity."
The official school song is one that represents a senior class, usually played at prom, graduation and senior programs at school.
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