We have heard “The Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks, which cast the singer as an abusive, womanizer husband shot by his maltreated wife. This, however, was not the only time Brooks encountered criticism over his socially cognizant opinions. Two years later, many radio stations refused to play his song “We Shall Be Free” for being proven unusually tolerant for a country message.
“We Shall Be Free” Song Facts
Garth Brooks penned “We Shall Be Free” together with Stephanie Davis. It is on his August 1992 album The Chase. However, it missed the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks in 1992, due to an airplay prohibition from some radio stations. The song fosters an ordinary man seeing a world where all human beings are free from earthly oppression. Moreover, it is a social commentary that includes poverty, freedom of speech and religion, racism and sexual discrimination.
Timothy Miller directed its original music video. It premiered on Country Music Television in September 1992. The video is full of much disturbing imagery. Toward the end of the video is the statement: This video is dedicated to the human spirit. Unbreakable. Relentless. Free. Still, the music video won Video of the Year at the 1993 Academy of Country Music awards.
The Inspiration, Garth’s Socially Conscious Views
“We Shall Be Free” was written during Garth Brooks and Stephanie Davis’ stay in Los Angeles while riots overtook the city after police officers accused of beating Rodney King were cleared of charges. The song victors coming together to build a better world for all human beings, and often reclaims admiration in times of personal or international struggle. In the early times, Brooks’ message of the song fell on many deaf ears in Nashville, who only listened long enough to be insulted over the song’s defense of gay rights.
“’Cause we shall be free.
When we’re free to love anyone we choose..”
Now, people are requesting “We Shall Be Free” anytime there is chaos or division. This song tells us that we have a lot of differences, but instead of letting it separate us, we celebrate those differences and use them to our advantage as one. It is such comfort to know that after 26 years, the message finally reached its mark. A vision that Garth Brooks once shared in the liner notes of the song,
“We Shall Be Free” is definitely and easily the most controversial song I have ever done. A song of love, a song of tolerance from someone who claims not to be a prophet but just an ordinary man. I never thought there would be any problems with this song. Sometimes the roads we take do not turn out to be the roads we envisioned them to be. All I can say about ‘We Shall Be Free” is that I will stand by every line of this song as long as I live. I am very proud of it. And I am very proud of Stephanie Davis, the writer. I hope you enjoy it and see it for what it was meant to be.”