Reba McEntire‘s 2019 album Stronger Than the Truth ends with a song for her mother, Jacqueline. Called “You Never Gave Up On Me,” the track was written by Billy Aerts and Burton Collins.
In a video on her YouTube channel, Reba explained how she ended up recording the song. She said she originally thought about recording it for her 2017 gospel album, Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope. Even though she decided not to record it at that time, she held on to it.
Later, Reba was listening to her collection of songs when she came across “You Never Gave Up On Me” again. That’s when it clicked for her:
“That’s a great song for mama,” Reba remembers thinking. “Because who besides God, has never given up on me? Mama.“
Reba recorded the song in one take. She sent the recording to her siblings to play for her mother at Christmas, who cried when she heard it.
The year after Reba released Stronger Than the Truth and “You Never Gave Up On Me,” she lost her mother. Jacqueline passed away on March 14, 2020.
“She had a wonderful, full, healthy life and was absolutely ready to go,” Reba wrote on social media. “…we’re giving God all the credit on selecting the time for her to go home to Him. She was ready to see our Daddy, her mama and daddy and all her family and friends.“
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On the one-year anniversary of her mother’s passing (March 14, 2021), Reba released a new music video for “You Never Gave Up On Me” to honor her.
The video includes photos of Reba and her mother throughout the years, going all the way back to Reba’s childhood. It also opens with a clip of Reba accepting a trophy at the 1984 CMA Awards.
During her speech, she said:
“First time me and mama came to Nashville, she told me, she said ‘Reba, I couldn’t do this, so I’m living my life and my dreams through you.’ This is for me and mama and we thank you.”
Reba spoke about the release of the new music video on social media, making it clear how much it means to her. “Mama went to heaven. I know she’s still not giving up on me. Thank you Mama,” she said.
Witness Reba’s emotional music video for “You Never Gave Up On Me” below. It’s such a beautiful tribute to her mother.