Twelve years ago today, on July 26, 2011, Eric Church's career was about to shift into overdrive: It was on that date that the singer released his third studio album, Chief, launching himself into a new level of success.

Church co-wrote all but one of the songs on Chief, purposefully stepping outside of the box while choosing each of the 12 tunes on the record.

“Going in the studio [for Chief], our main goal was not to let anyone reign us in," Church tells The Boot. "We didn’t have any rules, and because of that, we made some really good music. No idea was shot down.”

Eric Church Chief album cover
EMI Nashville

Church released five singles from Chief, including the chart-topping hits "Drink in My Hand" and "Springsteen." The latter song landed in the Top 20 on the pop charts as well.

"I went to a concert when I was younger with a girl, and to this day, when I hear that artist, it’s the soundtrack to that girl," the singer shares of the inspiration behind "Springsteen." "I never think about her any other time, except when that song is on. That’s where the "Springsteen" came from, and he seemed to be the perfect guy to craft that story around because of my love for him … I have such a reverence for Bruce Springsteen’s career and how he’s built it."

Chief earned Church both an ACM and CMA for Album of the Year, with "Springsteen" earning two Grammy Awards nominations as well.

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