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"The Chain of Love"
by Jonnie Barnett & Rory Lee

He was driving home one evening,
In his beat up Pontiac
When an old lady flagged him down,
Her Mercedes had a flat
He could see that she was frightened, Standing out there in the snow
'Til he said I'm here to help you ma'am,
By the way my name is Joe

She said I'm from St. Louis,
And I'm only passing through
I must have seen a hundred cars go by,
This is awful nice of you
When he changed the tire,
And closed her trunk
And was about to drive away,
She said how much do I owe you
Here's what he had to say

You don't owe me a thing,
I've been there too
Someone once helped me out,
Just the way I'm helping you
If you really want to pay me back,
Here's what you do
Don't let the chain of love end with you

Well a few miles down the road,
The lady saw a small cafe
She went in to grab a bite to eat,
And then be on her way
But she couldn't help but notice,
How the waitress smiled so sweet
And how she must've been eight months along,
And dead on her feet

And though she didn't know her story,
And she probably never will
When the waitress went to get her change, From a hundred dollar bill
The lady slipped right out the door,
And on a napkin left a note
There were tears in the waitress's eyes,
When she read what she wrote

You don't owe me a thing,
I've been there too
Someone once helped me out,
Just the way I'm helping you
If you really want to pay me back,
Here's what you do
Don't let the chain of love end with you.

That night when she got home from work,
The waitress climbed into bed
She was thinkin' about the money,
And what the lady's note had said
As her husband lay there sleeping,
She whispered soft and low
Everything's gonna be alright,
I love you, Joe

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Welcome to The Chain of Love.com

In 1999, Clay Walker touched the hearts and minds of listeners throughout the world with a song called, "The Chain of Love" inspired by a true story and written by Nashville songwriters, Jonnie Barnett and Rory Lee.

The Chain of Love began as a story that appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Country Soul book in 1996, written by Jonnie Barnett and Rory Lee. The real story behind this song was a personal experience in the life of Jonnie Barnett.

Jonnie recalled his experience as a singer in a small club in Maryville, TN over 25 years ago in an interview with Walter Carter, writer for the Tennessean, on June 4th, 2000. In that interview, he explained what happened one night when his car broke down in the middle of nowhere and he needed help.

"I had an old right-hand-drive Jaguar and driving into the gig I had a flat tire. It was getting dark, the jack didn't work, and I was trying to flag people down. I had a rhinestone outfit on that looked like something Porter Wagoner coughed up. After several hours, a 19 year old kid in an old pick up truck stopped to help me.".

"This kid got under the car and got all messed up and scuffed up. I wanted to pay him. I was going to give him $20, but he said no, "No, you don't owe me a thing." I said I owe you something. He looked at me---and I will never forget it- he looked at me and said," If you want to pay me back, next time you see somebody who needs a helping hand, you help that person and think of me." And that's how Jonnie used this story to create The Chain of Love.

Jonnie was born in Sumter, South Carolina, and attended the Colorado School of Mines where he began a singer/songwriter career. He toured with Tom Waits, Frank Zappa, Hank Williams, Jr., Cheech & Chong, Eric Burdon, Ronnie Milsap and others. His songs were recorded by Dobie Gray, Clay Walker, Charlie Pride, Hank Williams, Jr., Eric Heatherly, Etta James, Eric Burdon, Johnny Adams, The Stray Cats, Joe Simon, Irma Thomas, Dan Penn and others. “One Foot In The Blues”, co-written with Dan Penn and Carson Whitsett, and recorded by Johnny Adams, was nominated for the W.C. Handy Blues Song of the Year.

You can learn more about Jonnie Barnett and his music by visiting the Waterdance Music BMI web site.

What started as a wish to collect and publish a book containing stories from fans about their "Chain of Love" experiences became a book about Jonnie. I am currently collecting "Chain of Love" stories for my next book.

 Barbara Barnett


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