Rodney Atkins charted his first country single in 1997, after being signed to Curb Records; the song, "In a Heartbeat," reached No. 74. Six years -- and several heartbeats -- later, Atkins cracked the country Top 40 with "Sing Along;" the Tennessee native landed his first Top 5 hit in 2004 with "Honesty (Write Me a List)."

The first song that an artist lands on the radio seems like a ticket to ride. Below, Atkins tells The Boot where he was when he heard himself on the radio for the first time.

I was driving down the road in my truck, in 2003. It was the single "Sing Along," from the Honesty album.

I had to pull over. I was by myself, and I wanted to call my wife in the middle of the song, but then I would've had to turn it down. So I waited until the song was over.

I remember thinking it was cool because they played Alan Jackson before they played my song, and then George Strait was after me. I was in the middle of those two legends. It was overwhelming!

This story was originally written by Pat Gallagher, and revised by Angela Stefano.

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