On This Day: Brooks & Dunn Get First Chart-Topping Hit with Debut ‘Brand New Man’ in 1991

by Clayton Edwards

Brooks & Dunn are still one of the biggest duos in country music. Their debut album Brand New Man produced four chart-topping singles. So, it was apparent from the beginning that they would go on to do big things. In fact, their debut single and title track from the album went to the top of the charts. At that time, they were the second country duo to see that kind of success out of the gate.

Brooks & Dunn released “Brand New Man,” in June of 1991. Their sound grabbed the ears of listeners and radio programmers across the country. It took less than two months for their debut single to climb to the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart.

Thirty years after Brooks & Dunn’s debut single hit the top of the chart, it is easy to see why it was so popular. At the same time, it’s easy to see why the song has remained popular for so long. The real magic lays in the combination of the duo’s outstanding vocal performance and the relatable lyrics of the song. Their vocal harmonies and songwriting chops are arguably the duo’s biggest strengths.

Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn, and Don Cook didn’t break new ground when they co-penned the tune. The theme of living a hard life and being loved by a good woman is nothing new for country music fans. However, they told the story of redemption through love in such a way that listeners couldn’t turn away.

Brooks & Dunn Ride Redemption to the Top

This is one of those songs that just about any country music fan can enjoy. However, for those fans who have lived the lyrics, it hits a little harder. Additionally, the way they walked the line between plainspoken and poetic makes the song stand out from others of its kind.

The second verse of the song is a great example of this balance.

Yeah, I used to have a wild side / They say a country mile wide / I’d burn those beer joints down / That’s all changed now / You turned my life around.”

However, Brooks & Dunn tie the message of the song up in a neat bow in the chorus. At the same time, they move away from the balance. The song’s refrain is pure poetry. The lyrics hint at a spiritual awakening fueled by the love of the woman in question. Her love is like a cleansing baptism of fire that left the song’s narrator born again as a brand new man.

Well, I saw the light. I’ve been baptized / by the fire in your touch / and the flame in your eyes. / I’m born to love again. / I’m a brand new man.”

Like most of their music, the theme of Brooks & Dunn’s debut single is timeless. It went to number one thirty years ago today, but it’s still as good now as it was back then.