You will definitely see “Friends in Low Places” differently after reading this story.
In 2014, just days before Christmas, Justine Timberlake and the massive audience at his sold-out show at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville got the surprise of a lifetime.
“This is the country music capital of the world, right?” Timberlake asked the crowd as a way of introduction before he started strumming to the first line to Garth Brooks’ mega-hit single, “Friends In Low Places.” As though to answer his question, the whole audience launched into the verse. They sang along with Timberlake and his massive backup band — the Tennessee Kids — all the way until after a few verses, Timberlake said, “Something don’t feel right.”
And then the Prince of Pop was all, “Garth?”
Brooks was then seen walking onstage and launched into a duet with Timberlake – spending the next six minutes trading lyrics. The crowd definitely went wild with what they’ve just witnessed. When the two talented singers were done singing, Timberlake was so shocked and overwhelmed with excitement that he collapsed – well, he playfully pretended to do so!
But that collaboration could not have happened if Timberlake did not attend one of the country icon’s concerts in St. Louis, Missouri.
“We’re in St. Louis, and Chuck comes, and he goes, ‘Justin Timberlake’s here,’ and I went, ‘Hahaha! Yeah, right!’ and he goes, ‘No, dude. He’s here.’ My first question was, ‘Why?’” Brooks jokingly said. “So I come to find out, he grew up on our stuff. He’s right over stage right, and this kid’s singing every word, and I’m like, ‘Holy cow!’”
Timberlake dropped by backstage after the show and invited Brooks to come to his concert in Nashville. Though Brooks hesitated a bit, his wife Trisha Yearwood was all in. She told her husband matter-of-factly, “We’re going to that concert.”
The Story Behind The Iconic Song
Written by songwriters Earl Bud Lee and Dewayne Blackwell, “Friends in Low Places ” tells the tale of a cowboy who made an appearance at the engagement party or wedding reception of his old flame.
“’Cause I’ve got friends in low places. Where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away. And I’ll be okay. I’m not big on social graces. Think I’ll slip on down to the oasis. Oh, I’ve got friends in low places,” the song goes.
Lee once shared in an interview that he got the song’s title one day when he and some fellow Nashville songwriters were having lunch at a restaurant called Tavern on the Row. When the check finally came, Lee realized he did not have any money. He said not to worry because “I have friends in low places. I know the cook.”.
Blackwell immediately recognized that the line “friends in low places” had potential. However, the two songwriters didn’t act upon it immediately until some months later. They started talking about the dormant “friends in low places” idea, and “at that very moment, it all started to come together in a song,” Lee said.
And it turned out to be a crowd-pleaser! When it was released in 1990 as the lead single from Brook’s album No Fences, the song spent four weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs. It also won Single of the Year in both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Awards.
Tune in and watch Justin Timberlake perform “Friends in Low Places” with none other than Garth Brooks.
Garth Brooks, justin timberlake