On This Day: Garth Brooks Released His Best-Selling Album ‘No Fences’ in 1990

by Keeli Parkey

It was on this day (Aug. 27) 31 years ago that Garth Brooks released one of the most popular albums of his career. It was the 1990 smash hit, “No Fences.”

With such songs as “Friends in Low Places,” “The Thunder Rolls,” and “Unanswered Prayers,” it’s very easy to see why this Garth Brooks album was such a huge winner for the country music superstar.

Unlike most albums, which draw their title from a song on the record, “No Fences” did not, according to CMT. Instead, Brooks chose the album name from the feeling he had when thinking about the songs. He talked about choosing the 1990 album’s name in his “The Anthology: Part I The First Five Years” book.

“I picked the album title ‘No Fences’ because once you hear ‘The Thunder Rolls’ into ‘New Way to Fly,’ … ‘Friends in Low Places,’ ‘Mr. Blue,’ ‘Unanswered Prayers,’ ‘Wolves,’ it just became clear that this record had no boundaries, and, as much as we could guess, the future was whatever the music wanted it to be,” Garth Brooks wrote in his book. “We were beginning to feel that, really, there were no fences, and we’d be fools to put any up.”

Garth Brooks Once Wrote About His Gut Feeling When He Thought of ‘No Fences’

Garth Brooks also wrote that when it came to “No Fences” he had a gut feeling that it was a special piece of work.

“All you knew was, ‘Man, there’s some thing about this record that makes me pull for it,” he also wrote. “Something about it that makes me want to hear it again.’ I just know that’s how it hit me.”

He was absolutely right about that. “No Fences” went on to win Album of the Year from the Academy of Country Music. After receiving the award, Garth Brooks thanked those who made it the success it was. Of course, he thanked the team that worked with him and those who played on the album. He also graciously spoke about his fans.

“Most of all, the people who bought this album, man, thanks for spending your money,” Brooks said.

Check Out the Tracklist From ‘No Fences’

Here is the tracklist for “No Fences” and the songwriters for each. “The Thunder Rolls” (Garth Brooks, Pat Alger); “New Way To Fly” (Brooks, Kim Williams); Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House” (Bobby Boyd, Warren Haynes, Dennis Robbins); “Victim of the Game” (Brooks, Mark D. Sanders); “Friends in Low Places” (DeWayne Blackwell, Earl Bud Lee); “Wild Horses” (Bill Shore, David Wills); “Unanswered Prayers” (Brooks, Alger, Larry Bastian); “Same Old Story” (Tony Arata); “Mr. Blue” (Blackwell); and “Wolves” (Stephanie Davis).

Interestingly, Garth Brooks was not the first choice when it came to recording “Friends in Low Places.” George Strait was offered the chance, but decided not to record it. Mark Chesnutt did record it for his “Too Cold for Home” album in 1990, but it was not released as a single.

Brooks, who had been performing the song live before 1990, obviously did record it and released it as a single. The rest, as they say, is history.