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27 Years Ago: Garth Brooks Hits No. 1 With ‘The Dance’

Garth Brooks The Dance Cover Art
Capitol Nashville

Twenty-seven years ago today (July 14, 1990) is a day that Garth Brooks will likely not forget. It was on that date that his hit “The Dance” soared to the top of the charts, where it stayed for three straight weeks.

“The Dance,” which was Brooks’ second No. 1 single, comes from Brooks’ self-titled debut album. Written by songwriter Tony Arata, the tune helped both Brooks and Arata find their place in country music.

“We were both doing whatever we could to stay in Nashville, trying to get our songs heard by anybody,” Arata recalls. “The only folks listening, however, were other songwriters, as no one else was usually at our shows.”

While they were both struggling as newcomers, Brooks told Arata that if he ever got a record deal, he would record the song — and he kept his word. In turn, “The Dance” sealed Brooks’ spot as a star in country music and earned him multiple awards, including the CMA Horizon Award; he also won an ACM Awards trophy for the song’s music video, which features footage of celebrities who had passed away, including Keith Whitley, Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy.

“The Dance” has been used multiple times since its release to mark emotional moments, including in a tribute to late NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt in 2001; at the end of Brooks’ nine-show run at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena to benefit flood recovery efforts in 2010; and on Jay Leno’s final night as host of The Tonight Show in 2014. Brooks included “The Dance” on several of his greatest hits albums, including The Hits in 1994 and The Ultimate Hits in 2007.

“The Dance” is available for purchase on Amazon.

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