Country Throwback: Garth Brooks Performs ‘Standing Outside the Fire’ on ‘Tonight Show’ in 1994

by Jennifer Shea

Country star Garth Brooks put on quite a show for Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” in his 1994 live performance of “Standing Outside the Fire.”

Watch it here:

Brooks Returns to Songwriting

Brooks co-wrote the song, which was included in his album In Pieces. “Standing Outside the Fire” hit No. 3 on the Billboard Country Charts in 1994. 

In a recent interview with, Brooks talked about the process of songwriting and his new record, Fun

“With this record, I just found that same joy in making it,” Brooks said, comparing the album to 1997’s Sevens. “Especially when you hear the first line in the first song about ‘the hummin’ of this bluebird is something I’ve been missing’ (from ‘The Road I’m On’). It’s so warm. It’s like, ‘Oh good, we’re on to the record now.’”

The Cowboy Songs

Brooks explained that after coming out of retirement, he didn’t trust himself to write songs at first. But he also wanted to make sure he wrote the right kind of songs.

“So when I said I didn’t trust my pen, and now my name’s on a lot of these songs, it isn’t because I think I’m a great writer,” Brooks told “It might be because music is in a place right now that maybe isn’t as suited for this artist as much as it is for a snap loop kind of artist. We found ourselves going through a lot of songs and just coming back to the songs that seemed to feel more like me.”

Brooks suggested he’ll always come back to the cowboy songs – “it was playing the rodeos that was my thing” – because those are the audiences who sustained him through lean times. And he remembers that whenever he’s tempted to sell out for a quick hit. 

“Man, I’d love to be the hottest thing year in and year out,” Brooks confessed. “I would. But if that means not being me, then what fun is it, right? So just be you, and the people who seek this kind of music will find it.”