The Story (song)

"The Story" is a song released as a single by American folk rock singer Brandi Carlile, written by Phil Hanseroth, from her 2007 album The Story. It was featured in Grey's Anatomy in 2007 and is on Grey's Anatomy Soundtrack album 3 (released September 11).

"The Story"
Single by Brandi Carlile
from the album The Story
GenreFolk Rock
LabelSony BMG
Songwriter(s)Phil Hanseroth
Producer(s)T-Bone Burnett
Brandi Carlile singles chronology
""What Can I Say"" "The Story" ""Turpentine""

About four years later, a version of the song has been recorded by Grey's Anatomy actress Sara Ramirez and was first presented in the 2011 episode "Song Beneath the Song". The track was later covered by LeAnn Rimes for her Remnants album and by Dolly Parton for the charity tribute album Cover Stories.

Composition and recording

"The Story" was written by Phil Hanseroth, who also plays bass in Carlile's band.[1] It has a 16-bar melody.[1] It was recorded in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and produced by T-Bone Burnett.

Release and promotion

"The Story" was released as a single in 2007. It was iTunes' Download of the Week in March 2007.[2] Carlile has performed the song live on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Early Show.[3]

Along with other songs by Carlile, "The Story" received exposure to a wider audience by being played on the soundtrack to medical drama series Grey's Anatomy. The song, and parts of the video, appeared in 2007 in a special recap episode titled "Every Moment Counts".[2] The song was also used in a General Motors commercial that aired during television coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics.[4] "The Story" has become the most popular song from Carlile's album.[1]

Chart performance and reception

In the United States Brandi Carlile's "The Story" reached No. 75 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as No. 35 on the Adult Pop Songs chart and No. 48 on the Digital Songs chart.[2][5] The song peaked at No. 44 on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart, No. 3 on the Norwegian VG-lista chart, No. 16 on the Swiss singles chart and No. 38 on the Ö3 Austria Top 40 chart.[6][7][8][9]

Tom Scanlon of The Seattle Times describes a live performance of "The Story" as "stunning" and "spine-chilling". He notes the transition within the song between acoustic pop-rock and "scream-singing" that resembles Janis Joplin.[3] A writer for Indianapolis Monthly also draws a comparison between Carlile's vocals and those of Joplin.[10]

Brandi Carlile version
Chart (2007–08) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[11] 44
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[12] 38
Brazilian Singles Chart (ABPD)[13] 57
Norway (VG-lista)[14] 3
Portugal (Billboard) 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[15] 16
US Billboard Hot 100[16] 75
US Adult Pop Songs (Billboard)[16] 35
Sara Ramirez version
List of songs, with selected chart positions
Song Year Peak chart positions Album

"The Story" 2011 69 2 [A] 72 94 34 Sara Ramirez
  1. ^ "The Story" did not enter the Austrian chart (Ö3 Austria Top 40), but peaked at No. 7 on the Austria Digital Songs chart.

Sara Ramirez version

In 2011, "The Story" was again featured in an episode of Grey's Anatomy. The series 7 episode "Song Beneath the Song" was a special musical episode that included renditions of popular songs performed by the show's characters. In the episode Sara Ramirez, in the role of Callie Torres, sings "The Story".[23] Ramirez' version of the song was included as a track on her 2011 extended play, Sara Ramirez and the 2011 album Grey's Anatomy: The Music Event. Sara's rendition was used again in 2018 on the season fourteen finale.

LeAnn Rimes version

Country music artist LeAnn Rimes released a cover version of the song on 24 June 2016 in the UK as the first single from her thirteenth studio album Remnants and her first release after signing with RCA UK. Rimes promoted the track with live performances on BBC One's The One Show and at London nightclub Heaven, but the track failed to enter any commercial charts in the UK. Rimes also sang this song on the Season 4 finale of The Masked Singer.

Rimes has indicated that she feels a strong connection with the track. In an interview with Billboard, she said "I fully embrace the journey I am on and have a deeper understanding of how every piece of my story serves a purpose in my evolution as a woman and an artist. This song is not only a love song but a song of self-acceptance and appreciation for life."[24]

A music video directed by Isaac Rentz premiered on Rimes' Vevo channel on 9 August 2016.[25]

Dolly Parton version

"The Story"
Single by Dolly Parton
from the album Cover Stories
ReleasedFebruary 21, 2017
Songwriter(s)Phil Hanseroth
Producer(s)Brandi Carlile
Dolly Parton singles chronology
"Head Over High Heels"
"The Story"
"Here I Am"
Music video
"The Story" on YouTube

The song was covered by American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton for the 2017 compilation album Cover Stories. It was released as the first single from the album on February 21, 2017.[26]


When Carlile began planning to record a cover of her ground-breaking 2007 album, The Story, she said that her idol, Parton, was the only person she had in mind to record the title track. When Carlile wrote Parton asking her to record the track, she suggested Parton could drop the key to make it easier to sing. She later recalled the letter, saying it was "about the stupidest thing I think I’ve ever put down in writing." Parton enthusically accepted the offer to record the song and in her hand-written response she told Carlile, "Honey, do me a favor. Don’t drop the key. I think I can handle it." Upon hearing the completed recording, Carlile realized she had been one-upped, saying, "Every gratuitous and show-offy note that I hit in that song, Dolly hits it initially and then takes it higher. She just completely takes me to school."[27]

Music video

The music video for the song was released on May 9, 2017.[28]


  1. ^ a b c Chinen, Nate (April 30, 2007), "A Little Bit of Country Infuses a Pop Instinct", The New York Times, The New York Times Company, retrieved September 10, 2011
  2. ^ a b c Visakowitz, Susan (May 5, 2007), "Being Brandi Carlile", Billboard, Prometheus Global Media, p. 34
  3. ^ a b Scanlon, Tom (March 30, 2007), "Singer Carlile Releasing the Story Within", The Seattle Times, The Seattle Times Company, retrieved September 10, 2011
  4. ^ Peters, Mitchell (August 30, 2008), "Going For the Gold", Billboard, Prometheus Global Media, p. 10
  5. ^ "The Story — Brandi Carlile", Allmusic, Rovi Corporation, retrieved September 2011 Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  6. ^ "Brandi Carlile — The Story (Song)", Australian charts portal, Hung Medien, retrieved September 10, 2011
  7. ^ "Brandi Carlile — The Story (Song)", Norwegian charts portal, Hung Medien, retrieved September 10, 2011
  8. ^ "Brandi Carlile — The Story (Song)", Swiss charts portal, Hung Medien, retrieved September 10, 2011
  9. ^ "Brandi Carlile — The Story (Song)", Austrian charts portal, Hung Medien, retrieved September 10, 2011
  10. ^ "Story Hour", Indianapolis Monthly, Emmis Communications, p. 168, October 2007
  11. ^ " – Brandi Carlile – The Story". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  12. ^ " – Brandi Carlile – The Story" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  13. ^ "Brazil" (PDF). ABPD. October 6, 2001. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  14. ^ " – Brandi Carlile – The Story". VG-lista.
  15. ^ " – Brandi Carlile – The Story". Swiss Singles Chart.
  16. ^ a b Billboard
  17. ^ Caulfield, Keith; Trust, Gary (April 7, 2011). "Chart Moves: Katy Perry, Rihanna, Elton John, Lil Wayne, Celtic Thunder". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Canadian Hot 100: Week of April 16, 2010 (Biggest Jump)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Irish Music Charts Archive: Top 50 Singles, Week Ending 7 April 2011". Chart-Track. GfK. April 7, 2011. Archived from the original on 5 September 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
  23. ^ Abrams, Natalie (March 28, 2011), "Everything You Need to Know About the Grey's Anatomy Musical Episode", TV Guide, retrieved September 10, 2011
  24. ^ "LeAnn Rimes Announces New Single On RCA UK, 'The Story'". Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  25. ^ "LeAnn Rimes - The Story (Official Video)". YouTube. 2016-08-09. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  26. ^ "Dolly Parton - The Story". Daily Play MPE®. 21 February 2017. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  27. ^ "Brandi Carlile Says Dolly Parton One-Up'd Her on Her Own Signature Song: 'She Just Completely Takes Me to School'". Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  28. ^ "The Story (From Cover Stories: Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of the Story...An Alb..." Retrieved July 31, 2019.