Skip to Content

Does Superstar Garth Brooks Really Have Friends in Low Places?

Does Superstar Garth Brooks Really Have Friends in Low Places?

Friends in Low Places is one of country music’s biggest hits. And Garth Brooks knows a few things about making great songs. His impressive list of awards seems to back that up.

But he paints a pretty unsavory picture of himself in this popular tune.

Today, we’re digging into his past to find out if this legend really has friends in low places. 

Let’s get into it!

About Troyal Garth Brooks

The future star entered the world on February 7, 1962, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His mother, a musician, encouraged him and his five older siblings to embrace the arts. They’d host family talent nights each week, and every kid had to participate. This early immersion set him up for a life in the biz. 

While studying advertising at Oklahoma State University, he played gigs around town with his band, Santa Fe. Small venues meant there was little insulation from the crowds. They’d let him know if they didn’t like his sound, and he’d mix it up until he found something that hit the spot. 

He moved to Nashville in the 80s. While working as a boot shop manager and moonlighting as a background singer, he began hitting up recording studios for a chance to strike gold. 

For a solid year, he faced rejection after rejection. But his luck changed in 1988 when an executive who’d previously turned him down heard him perform at the famous Bluebird Cafe. From then on, Garth Brooks couldn’t be stopped.

His debut self-titled album sold okay, but his second release, No Fences, occupied the #1 spot on Billboard’s Top Country Album chart for 23 weeks. The following year, Ropin’ the Wind received over four million pre-orders, which was unheard of. It was also the first country record to take the top spot in Billboard’s pop chart. 

College-aged Brooks probably never imagined that those days singing in local clubs would result in sold-out arenas around the globe, but that’s exactly where the superstar ended up.

Do you Know: Why Isn’t Garth Brooks on Spotify?

What Is the Story Behind Garth Brooks’ Friends in Low Places?

We mentioned that No Fences was the album that really launched Garth Brooks’ career. However, what we didn’t say was that the first single off the record was his hit song, Friends in Low Places

And although the artist’s delivery undoubtedly impacted its success, it wasn’t actually his story.

It all started in 1989 when two songwriting buddies, Earl Bud Lee and Dewayne Blackwell, were having a drink at Nashville’s Tavern on the Row. As they went to close their tab, they realized neither of them had enough money to pay it. Without missing a beat, Lee said, “Don’t worry, I’ve got friends in low places.”

He didn’t even mean to make a statement. He was simply referring to a pal that worked in the kitchen. However, as soon as it came out of his mouth, both men knew they had something to work with. 

A few months later, the two attended a party celebrating another songwriter who’d put out a #1 hit. At a swanky location surrounded by successful industry bigwigs, it finally started coming together. They jotted down the lyrics on a cocktail napkin.

When Lee and Blackwell recorded the tune, they invited a bunch of friends to come along. You hear them in the background, giving the whole song the feel of being at a big party with a raucous crowd. If you listen closely, you can even hear one of them crack open a cold one.

What do you think? Who Had a Better Career, Garth Brooks or George Strait?

Garth Brooks’ Best-Known Songs

While Friends in Low Places might be Garth Brooks’ biggest hit, it’s not his only one. Not by a long shot. Here are a few other notable tunes by the megastar. 

The Dance

If you thought Garth Brooks was all shin-dig and no substance, you haven’t heard The Dance. In this sentimental song, a man laments a lost love. He’s remembering the good times, and while he’s devastated that it ended, he wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

In the chorus, he sings, “Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”

If Tomorrow Never Comes

If Tomorrow Never Comes is another nostalgia-laden tune. Although the music video implies it’s about a father-daughter relationship, he revealed later that it’s really about a husband’s love for his wife. He wants her to know how much he cares about her. If something happens to him and he dies tragically, he doesn’t want her to wonder about his true feelings.

This song was actually Garth Brooks’ first to reach #1 on the country charts.

The Thunder Rolls

Back in his days as a starving artist, Brooks wrote what would later become one of his biggest hits. He pitched it to Tanya Tucker, who was already successful, and she recorded it first. 

The Thunder Rolls paints a picture of a dissolving marriage. A man is heading home after being out with another woman all night. But when he finally arrives, “the lightnin’ flashes in her eyes, and he knows that she knows.”

Where Is Garth Brooks’ Friends in Low Places Bar Located?

In late 2023, on Black Friday, the superstar opened a bar aptly named the Friends in Low Places Bar & Honky-Tonk with a concert for select fans. He partnered with a worldwide retailer to stream the event on Amazon Music Live. After all, a party is the only proper way for Garth Brooks to cut the ribbon on a bar.

The 40,000-square-foot establishment is on Lower Broadway in Nashville. Brooks expressed his excitement, saying, “The goal is a classic honky-tonk that welcomes all and encourages love and kindness while playing the greatest music in the world in the home of country music!”

He’s not the only musician to open a watering hole in Nashville. Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, and Jason Aldean all have spots around town. 

What Is Garth Brooks Doing Now?

You can’t argue with the fact that Garth Brooks is a busy man. 

After wrapping up a global three-and-a-half-year stadium tour, he’s starting his second Las Vegas residency. The 4,300-seat Colosseum at Caesars Palace is more intimate than some of the other venues he’s recently played, allowing him to get up close and personal with his fans. 

They’re calling it Garth Brooks/Plus ONE. And the “one” could be just about anybody. After all, he does have friends in low places! He’ll regularly invite guests to perform with him. You never know who you might see play with the country star. 

Considering how often he takes the stage, it’s no surprise that he’s releasing a new box set of live performances called Garth Brooks LIVE LIVE. It’ll feature over 50 live recordings and tons of photos from his shows. 

In addition to writing music, opening honky-tonks, and touring endlessly, we have no idea when the artist gets any sleep. But even though he’s now in his 60s, he shows no signs of slowing down. 

Dig deeper into Garth Brooks’ life: Garth Brooks – The Anthology.

A Musical Sensation

Country music icon Garth Brooks is one of the most prolific artists in history. He’s won almost every award in the industry and runs circles around other musicians when it comes to record sales. It seems like he manages to achieve anything he puts his mind to. And, frankly, we’re here for it! 

What’s your favorite tune from the megastar? We’d love to hear in the comments!