Twenty-three years ago, on Feb. 21, 2000, a then-little-known trio called Rascal Flatts launched their country music career with their debut single, "Prayin' for Daylight." The band has gone on to be a massively popular mainstay within the genre, with a storied, two-decade career under their belts.

Before Rascal Flatts recorded "Prayin' for Daylight," however, they didn't yet have a record deal -- or even a name for their group. In a feature in the Tennesseeansongwriters Steve Bogard and Rick Giles -- who co-penned the song -- remember that at the time, "they were calling this unnamed group the first country boy band."

Giles and Bogard initially had hopes that someone with greater name recognition might cut "Prayin' for Daylight" (there was talk of then-popular country act Blackhawk putting it out, for example). However, as soon as they heard the trio's rendition of the song, they were sold on Rascal Flatts.

The decision to take a chance on the newcomers paid off: "Prayin' for Daylight" became an enduring hit for Rascal Flatts' career, one of the most memorable among a catalog of memorable songs.

It was a career-breaker for the Flatts -- Jay DeMarcus, Gary LeVox and Joe Don Rooney -- too. "They had a deal one week later ... They had a deal and a name in one week. And it was the first single," Bogard recalls to the Tennessean.

On an archived page on the band's website, bassist DeMarcus says that "Prayin' for Daylight" was especially important as a debut single because it provided a good overview of the trio's particular brand of country music. "It's a very memorable kind of chorus, and it just showcases what we can do as well as the band," DeMarcus muses.

"I think if somebody said, 'Tell us what you're all about,' we could play that song and they'd get a pretty good picture of what we can do," he adds.

"Prayin' for Daylight" also earned Rascal Flatts an impressive debut at country radio, landing at No. 3 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart in July of 2000 and spending a total of 31 weeks on the chart.

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