Country Throwback: Garth Brooks Nails ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’ Performance in 1989

by Katie Maloney
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Country superstar Garth Brooks made an appearance on The Tommy Hunter Show to perform his hit song, “If Tomorrow Never Comes.”

We’ve all heard the line, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” But have we ever really sat with the meaning behind the phrase? Garth Brooks urges us to do so in his song, “If Tomorrow Never Comes.”

During the song, he sings about going to bed next to the woman he loves and wondering if she’d know how much he loved her if he didn’t wake up the next day. Brooks sings, “If tomorrow never comes, will she know how much I loved her? Did I try in every way to show her every day that she’s my only one? And if my time on earth were through and she must face the world without me, is the love I gave her in the past gonna be enough to last?”

The song was Garth’s second single from his self-titled album, Garth Brooks. The song became his first single to soar to the number one spot on the Billboard Country Singles chart. Garth won Favorite Country Single for the song at the 1991 AMAs. Additionally, the song helped Brooks win Top Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year at the ACM Awards and the CMA Awards Horizon Award. 

Brooks wrote the song with songwriter Kent Blazy. Blazy also wrote other hits songs including, Patty Loveless’s “Can’t Get Enough,” Garth Brooks’s “Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til The Sun Comes Up),” and Chris Young’s “Gettin’ You Home.”

Garth Brooks performs “If Tomorrow Never Comes” live in 1989.

George Jones Almost Recorded Garth Brooks’s ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’

In the CD booklet liner notes from The Hits album, Garth shared how the song clicked as soon as he started working with Blazy.

“‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’ will probably always be my signature song. I ran the idea for this song by what seemed like a thousand writers, and no one really seemed to understand what I was looking for,” said Brooks. “On the day that Bob Doyle, my co-manager, introduced me to Kent Blazy, I passed this idea by Kent, and he had the first verse down within fifteen seconds. I could tell he just felt it.”

As soon as he started writing the song, Garth Brooks knew he had something special. And once Blazy was on board, the two were unstoppable. However, it took a little while for the rest of the world to catch on. During an interview, Blazy talked about trying to pitch the song to other artists.

“A lot of times, you’re not really sure about a song, but Garth Brooks and I were really pumped about this,” said Blazy. “We pitched it to several artists right away, and George Jones actually had it on hold.”

But the deal ultimately didn’t work out. So, the two continued pitching the song, “around town for about a year, and nobody was interested,” said Blazy. So, Kent and Garth decided to rewrite the song to try and improve it. But just about a week before they were scheduled for the rewrite, country music destiny stepped in.

“Brooks got a call to come play at the Bluebird to fill in for somebody who was sick. They let him do one song, and he played ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes,'” Blazy said. “Linda Schultz from Capitol Records, who passed on him for the third time that week, heard something (in that song). She said, ‘Why don’t you come back? Maybe we missed something.'”

The rest is country music history.

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