Garth Brooks Almost Didn’t Record ‘Friends In Low Places’

Written by on December 10, 2017

Who knew that Garth Brooks almost missed his chance to record “Friends in Low Places,” the DeWayne Blackwell-Earl “Bud” Lee song that became one of his biggest early hits, and helped cement his status as one of country’s bright new stars of the 1990s?

Certainly not Garth Brooks.

The country music superstar discovered this while working on the first edition of his projected five-volume autobiographical “Anthology” book-music project.

“I got to learn a lot,” Brooks said by phone recently from his home in Nashville, talking shortly after wrapping up his 2017 tour. The trek ranks as one of the top-selling North American tours of the year.

The thrust of “Garth Brooks: The Anthology, Part 1 — The First Five Years,” which consists of a 240-page book and five CDs spotlighting tracks Brooks released from 1989-1993, is the stories behind those songs and how they impacted his career. Those tales, as he noted, are not just his own recollections but those of “everybody who played every note on every song.”

For “Friends in Low Places,” what Brooks belatedly realized was that the song had been making the rounds in Nashville. This was happening even as Brooks was using it, with great success, night after night in his concerts. Yet Brooks hadn’t yet recorded the tune.

Singer Mark Chesnutt even recorded a version and was set to release it as a single — that is, until word got back to Brooks’ camp. It was only after Brooks promised the writers he would release it as the first single from his next album that he received permission to record it.

That’s among the surprises Brooks discovered as he worked up a book that’s part autobiography, part dispassionate biography.

“People approach you all the time — they’ve approached Trisha [Yearwood, the singer who is Brooks’ wife] — to write an autobiography,” he said. “But the truth is only what you remember it to be. I could write a book and show it to [manager] Bob Doyle, and he’d say, ‘Half that stuff didn’t happen that way.’ Me and him have a different view of what happened. So doing an autobiography never appealed to me.”


Information for this article was originally published by Randy Lewis for the LA Times

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