“Friends in Low Places:” An Iconic Song for Garth Brooks
A 1990 country hit, “Friends in Low Places” was recorded and released by country music artist Garth Brooks on August 6, 1990. It is the lead single from his second studio album, No Fences. American songwriters Dewayne Blackwell and Earl Bud Lee penned the song in 1989. Meanwhile, record producer-songwriter Allen Reynolds produced it for Capitol Nashville Records.
Spending four weeks at the no. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, “Friends in Low Places” enjoyed a favorable reception from fans in the 1990s. In fact, it did not only become popular in the United States but also in neighboring countries and in Europe. The song was no. 1 on the RPM Country Tracks in Canada while it peaked at no. 3 in Ireland. In addition, it gained popularity in a few countries in Europe: no. 31 in Scotland, no. 36 in the U.K., and no. 89 on the Eurochart Hot 100.
At the end of 1990, “Friends in Low Places” earned the Single of the Year award from both the Academy of Country Music (ACM) and Country Music Association (CMA).
The Creation of the Song and its Story
In 1989, Dewayne Blackwell and Earl Bud Lee created one of the best country songs that would turn out to be a defining moment for Garth Brooks. And indeed, “Friends in Low Places” was the result of this genius collaboration. The two songwriters then invited Brooks to record it as a demo. Interestingly, he recorded it even before he released his self-titled first album. At that time, Brooks was still relatively unpopular. Soon after recording the official version of the song, his journey to stardom started. And, that was just the beginning of everything.
In an interview, Lee recalled the song’s birth and creation. He and Blackwell wrote the song with some friends gathered for lunch at Tavern on the Row, a famous eatery in Nashville. Soon after, the bill came and Lee realized that he had forgotten his money. Asked about how he was going to pay for the meal, he did not hesitate to reply:
“Don’t worry. I have friends in low places. I know the cook.”
His line “friends in low places” struck him and Blackwell to be a part of the song but they didn’t realize it immediately. A couple of months later, Lee and Blackwell found themselves in a party celebrating a recent no. 1 by another songwriter. They then recalled and talked about the dormant “friends in low places” idea.
“at that very moment, it all started to come together in a song.”
However, during that time, they cannot find anything to write on but paper napkins. Hence, they used it to write the song on.
Upon polishing it, they immediately called Brooks to check if he could do a demo of it. In no surprise, “Friends in Low Places” became a massive hit. Thus, everything went on as to what Lee, Blackwell, and Brooks had first thought of about the iconic song.
LISTEN to one of Garth Brooks iconic hits, “Friends in Low Places:”
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Dewayne Blackwell, Earl Bud Lee, friends in low places, Garth Brooks