In 2003, Rascal Flatts turned heads with their sultry hit “I Melt” and ended up causing quite the controversy with the song’s racy music video.
Upon releasing the sexy song to country radio, the award-winning trio paired the tune with a steamy music video featuring model Christina Auria. Filmed by Robert Deaton and George Flanigan in Miami, Florida, the clip featured shots of Auria nude in the shower and topless (from the side). The music video also included a now-infamous shot of Joe Don Rooney’s bare butt and when it aired on CMT, it became the first music video to show nudity on the network.
People had a lot to say about it. In fact, some groups even demanded that CMT and GAC (Great American Country) ban the video from airing. GAC reportedly took the clip out of rotation, however, CMT aired the video and it went on to reach the top spot on CMT’s Top Twenty Countdown later that year.
Rooney’s rear end was quite the buzzed-about topic and even became the subject of bits from late-night comedians. At this point in time, he likely had the most famous backside in country music.
“I don’t know about it being the most famous butt in country music, but it’s the only one that’s been seen on TV,” Rooney later shared in an interview.
He went on to discuss the video’s concept and how the song and video impacted country music’s growing audience.
“We just said, ‘Let’s make the best damn sexy video we can.’ Anytime you do something to shake things up . . . you’re going to have some negative reaction,” he said. “But I think the country crowd is evolving and the demographic is widening. We’re reaching a younger listening audience, and a song and a video like this just brings more people in.”
Click below to re-live the infamous “I Melt” music video.