January 25

Uncovering What Happened in ‘The Beaches of Cheyenne’

Reached the Top Charts in his ‘Fresh Horses’ Album

“The Beaches of Cheyenne” is a song co-written by Garth Brooks with Dan Roberts and Bryan Kennedy. Garth recorded and released it in 1995 as the third single from his album “Fresh Horses”. In March 1996, it became Brooks’ fifteenth Billboard Number One hit, holding the position for one week.

Garth once told in a television special that the song’s meaning didn’t end up the way he intended. He, Dan and Bryan said they imagined it to actually funny. It was supposed to be like cowboys swinging on the beach. Followed by a guy on the beach coming home from a suit and tie job. A guy who never had any cowboy skills, but always wanted to be one. So he just comes home, removes his shoes and goes out and walks on the beach, finally dreaming of Wyoming.

In a stroke of luck, Garth had the guitar, he was writing the melody and singing, Every night he walks the beaches of Cheyenne,”. And by mistake, he sings,

“Every night SHE walks the beaches of Cheyenne”.

So when he sang that, they started getting engrossed that it’s about a woman, and the story emerged out of that. Until they looked at each other and said, “This ain’t gonna be funny boys.

Explaining the Mystery in the Song

Now, you might be wondering. Are there a lot of beaches in Cheyenne? Did the woman go to Cheyenne and stay there? Isn’t it just like Garth to do a mystery and a ghost, like ‘The Thunder Rolls’ and things like that? There’s a lot of mystery to his songs. The song details a rodeo cowboy’s wife and her tragic end. She went crazy after her husband was killed while riding a bull in a rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The grieving woman felt unimaginably guilty that her last words to her husband were, “I don’t give a damn if you never come back from Cheyenne.” It’s like in the movies or TV when someone uses “I hope you die”, as a figure of speech to show anger. They never found her body but the chorus goes,

“If you go down by the water

You’ll see her footprints in the sand

 ‘Cause every night she walks the beaches of Cheyenne.”

…talking about people who think they have seen her ghost or the footprints of the widow walking the beach. Hence, referring to the combination of the beach where she died, and the rodeo (in Cheyenne) where the cowboy died.


Garth Brooks, The Beaches of Cheyenne

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