Garth Brooks’ ‘The Thunder Rolls’ Was First Recorded by Another Country Icon

by Emily Morgan
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No matter how many times you listen, Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls” is a song that will always leave you with goosebumps. 

Even though its release was nearly thirty years ago, the record’s timelessness still rings true today. 

While many fans have probably heard the song countless times, they may not know its unique backstory. 

Released in 1991 by Brooks, the song’s co-writer, Pat Alger, started crafting the song years before its release. 

According to Patsi Bale Cox’s book The Garth Factor: The Career Behind Country’s Big Boom, Brooks was the one who came up with the song’s idea, expressing a desire to write a song that demonstrated “thunder rolling inside of a marriage and outside at the same time.”

Alger, intrigued by Brooks’ idea, grabbed his guitar and started to work on a rhythm for the track. 

Garth Brooks Pitches The Tune To Fellow Country Star

However, Brooks decided to go in a different direction and pitched it to a fellow country music singer, Tanya Tucker. 

Tucker immediately fell in love with the song, but her producer wanted to add another verse. 

Tucker laid down her version of the song, and if things had gone as scheduled, she would have released it. 

Even though Tucker recorded it in the late 1980s, she never released it on an album. Going back to the drawing board, Garth Brooks decided to record it himself. 

He dropped the extra verse for his recording since it had an aggressive element. However, Brooks didn’t completely erase the verse from history: fans have often seen him include it during live performances. 

In addition, even though Tucker’s recording wasn’t initially released, it finally surfaced in 1995 on a box set. 

Despite Tucker’s rendition coming to light, few country fans know of its existence. Moreover, even fewer fans know that it was initially her song in the beginning. 

For years, country fans have always assumed that the song still belonged to Brooks.

It makes us wonder if Tucker had released the song as planned, how would that have changed county music history? 

While there’s no doubt that it would have been a hit due to the powerful songwriting and Tucker’s vocals, you can’t help but wonder if Brooks would have kept from recording his version. 

The good news is, fans have the best of both worlds with Brooks and Tucker’s own spin on the song. With this, they put their legacy on one of the genre’s most iconic songs.

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