Country Throwback: Garth Brooks Performs ‘One Night a Day’ on Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 1993

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Country superstar Garth Brooks and iconic talk show host Jay Leno are good friends.

Brooks performed on Leno’s last “Tonight” show in February, 2014. And he was there for his buddy in the early years, helping him kick off his show when it was going head to head against David Letterman in the early 1990s.

“If you were an entertainer and needed a friend and a way to the people, you were always it,” Brooks told Leno on the 2014 show, according to The Boot. “I love you with all my heart.”

Brooks joined Billy Crystal on final episode. At Leno’s request, he sang “The Dance” and closed the show with a “Friends in Low Places.” Now, that’s the way to put an exclamation point on a show.

Garth Brooks Often Was On Leno Show Early In His Career

But what about 1993? What sorts of songs did Garth Brooks perform on late night?

How about the bluesy “One Night A Day,” the Brooks song that actually mentions late night TV.

On Aug. 31, 1993, Leno and Letterman both premiered their shows on the same night. Leno needed the heft of a big personality when he went head-to-head for the first time against Letterman in the late night wars.

Brooks was that guest.

The then 31-year-old Brooks was flying high in his career. He was in the midst of his first world tour. NBC filmed his September stop at Texas Stadium for a TV special. The concert opened with fire pyrotechnics appearing to engulf the stage. He’d end the concert with “The Dance.”

But on Leno, Brooks sang the sweet, very normal song of a man missing a woman. He was accompanied by a piano and a guitar. The song featured a sax solo, giving it a jazzy feel.

“One Night a Day” was a single on the “In Pieces” album, Brooks sixth from a studio. One “Billboard” music critic likened it to Brooks stepping from a honky-tonk bar to a cocktail lounge.

Enjoy some very old-school Brooks.

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