‘The Dance’ has been one of Garth Brooks’ most well-known and iconic songs. However, despite its widespread fame, not all fans of country music know the inspiration behind the hit track.
The song was inspired by the 1986 film, Peggy Sue Got Me Married. It was during the mid-80’s when songwriter Tony Arata began working on the song, but somehow couldn’t figure out a way to develop a complete backstory and title for the lyrics. The film depicts the lead, Kathleen Turner, whose character travels to the past to relive her high school years in the hopes of changing the course of her future through altering the decisions she’s made as a teenager. In the end, she realizes that everything is already as it should be. Arata shares that the story moved him so much that you will probably realize the film’s theme reflected more clearly on the lyrics: Our lives are better left to chance/ I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.
“It hit me that you don’t get to pick and choose your memories in life. You have to go with things as they play out. You don’t get to alter them.”
Says Arata during an interview with Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.
But the splendid backstory of The Dance did not end there. When it was first pitched to artists all over Nashville, its uniqueness drove opportunities and artists away. Such was the case until that fateful day when Arata performed The Dance at the world-famous Bluebird Café. Coincidentally, then-unsigned Brooks was there to witness the performance and listen to the song’s beautiful words. Not wasting any more time, Brooks promptly approached Arata and asked for a record deal.
Without a doubt, the song had such a rich emotional impact on the listeners. It reached the top spot on the Hot Country Singles and Tracks of Billboard on July 14, 1990, bagged the Song of the Year and Music Video of the Year award at the 1991 ACM Awards and even snagged Music Video of the Year at the CMA Awards.
Indeed, when a song has such deep meaning and beautiful melody, it surely is a timeless testament to life’s big and small wonders.
Garth Brooks|movie|The Dance
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