Country Throwback: ‘Unknown’ Garth Brooks Performs ‘The Dance’ on TNN in 1989

by Quentin Blount
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In another country throwback, we’re taking it back to when a young, unknown Garth Brooks performed “The Dance” on TNN in 1989.

In what was the final song on his debut album, “The Dance” became perhaps one of Brooks’ most iconic. Without a doubt, it has definitely been a fan favorite song for numerous years. It was the last-released single from Brooks and his self-titled debut album back in 1990. It’s still one of his greatest successes and considered one of Brooks’ signature songs.

Songwriter Tony Arata wrote “The Dance.” In addition, the song was inspired by the Kathleen Turner film Peggy Sue Got Married.

“It just hit me so hard,” Arata explained in a 2013 Tennessean interview. “It hit me that you don’t get to pick and choose your memories in life. You have to go with things as they play out. You don’t get to alter them.”

“The Dance” debuted on the country charts on May 5th, 1990. It would go on to become Brooks’ second Number One song.

In a Playboy interview from 1994, the singer said:

‘The Dance’ will be the greatest success as a song we will ever do. I’ll go to my grave with ‘The Dance.’ It’ll probably always be my favorite song.”

Sporting his iconic cowboy hat, a young country music star performed the song live on TNN back in 1889. Center Stage Magazine posted the video to Facebook.

Meaning Behind the Garth Brooks Song

Just the name of the song, “The Dance,” would lead you to believe the song is about dancing or love. However, the “If Tomorrow Never Comes” singer says that his idea of the song is more about the bigger picture. In fact, Brooks released the music video with his take on the country song.

“To a lot of people, I guess ‘The Dance’ is a love gone bad song,” says Brooks. “Which, you know, that it is. But to me, it’s always been a song about life. Or maybe the loss of those people that have given the ultimate sacrifice for a dream that they believed in, like the John F. Kennedy’s or the Martin Luther King’s. John Wayne’s or the Keith Whitley’s. And if they could come back, I think they would say to us what the lyrics of ‘The Dance’ say.”

The video also features images of people who died for their dream.

Further, in 1990, the music video earned Brooks the Academy of Country Music Award for Video of the Year. It also won him Song of the Year. Since then, “The Dance” has memorialized many lives in the face of tragedy, including former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt in a powerful ceremony.

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