Garth Brooks scored his first No. 1 single on the US Billboard Country Singles chart with “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” Sometimes referred to as his signature song, “If Tomorrow Never Comes” was released on Brooks’ self-titled debut album in 1989 and also appeared on The Hits, The Limited Series, and Double Live.

The song was named Favorite Country Single in the American Music Awards of 1991. It also helped Brooks win Top Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year at the ACM Awards and the CMA Awards Horizon Award before becoming one of his most famous songs for other artists to perform. 

The Song That Earned Garth Brooks A Recording Contract

Written by Garth Brooks and Kent Blazy, “If Tomorrow Never Comes” sings about a man lying awake at night, thinking what would happen to the girl he loves if he were to die the next day.

“If tomorrow never comes, will she know how much I loved her? Did I try in every way to show her every day that she’s my only one? And if my time on earth were through, and she must face this world without me. Is the love I gave her in the past gonna be enough to last, if tomorrow never comes,” the song goes.

Garth gave the following background information of the song in the CD booklet liner notes from The Hits:

“‘If Tomorrow Never Comes” will probably always be my signature song. I ran the idea for this song by what seemed like a thousand writers, and no one really seemed to understand what I was looking for,” Brooks wrote. “On the day that Bob Doyle, my co-manager, introduced me to Kent Blazy, I passed this idea by Kent, and he had the first verse down within fifteen seconds. I could tell he just felt it.”

Still, the classic song almost became a hit for another artist. “A lot of times, you’re not really sure about a song, but Garth and I were really pumped about this,” Blazy recalled to Country Weekly. “We pitched it to several artists right away, and George Jones actually had it on hold.”

Blazy further revealed that they pitched the song “around town for about a year, and nobody was interested.” Blazy and Brooks even come to the decision to get together and rewrite the song, see if they could get it better. But just about a week before that, something great happened.

“Brooks got a call to come play at the Bluebird to fill in for somebody who was sick. They let him do one song, and he played ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes,'” Blazy said. “Linda Schultz from Capitol Records, who passed on him for the third time that week, heard something (in that song). She said, ‘Why don’t you come back? Maybe we missed something.'”

Impressed with the performance, the executive convinced Capitol Records to sign Brooks. “He came in and got a record deal. It was his second single, my first No. 1 and his first No. 1,” Blazy added.

But This Is Not A Love Song

But contrary to what most people believe, the song was not written for his lover. This song is actually about the love of a father to his daughter. Brooks said that on stage at Belmont University to Britt Todd.

The music video further proves the song’s meaning. Throughout the short clip for the song, Brooks can be seen playing his guitar in a dim room and constantly cuts to a little girl, played by the daughter of Steve Gatlin of the Grammy-award winning trio, The Gatlin Brothers. She is the subject of the song in this case.

You can watch the heart-wrenching music video below.