Garth Brooks’ ‘The Thunder Rolls’: Story Behind the No. 1 Song and Controversial Video

by Thad Mitchell

As one of country music’s most beloved entertainers of all time, Garth Brooks has put out hit song after hit song. One of his most iconic songs is “The Thunder Rolls” off of the 1990 album “No Fences.” It was the fourth single off of that album and it carries a rather interesting back story.

The song is so popular that it carries relevance today. Recently, while hosting the Ellen Degeneres Show, Brooks unveiled a parody video of he and Ellen creating a “music video” for the song.

The album was co-written by Pat Alger, a renowned Nashville superstar and writer in the country music genre. According to Wide Open Country, Alger explains how the song came about and Brooks’ inspiration in a 2012 interview with WSLC.

“I’d written a song with Mark Sanders, who’s a great songwriter, and he’s a good friend,” he starts out. “We’d written a song called ‘Like a Hurricane’ that Kathy Mattea had recorded. It was the B-side of ’18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses.’ There’s a line about thunder rolling in the song. Garth had been listening to that song. He’d been listening to stuff that Allen Reynolds had given him. He came in and said, ‘What if we write a song about somebody who’s cheating on his wife, and every time he does it, the thunder rolls. And I kind of laughed.'”

Brooks Has a Hit Song on His Hands

Initially thinking it to be a joke, Alger and Brooks went to work and came away with one of the biggest country hits of all time.

“When we wrote it, I really did think it was kind of different,” Alger says. “And of course we were trying to pitch that song immediately. We were trying to get Reba McEntire  and Tanya Tucker to record that.”

Since neither McEntire or Tucker picked the song up, Brooks took the song for himself and the rest is history.

The song’s music video centers around an abusive husband. Brooks plays the husband in the video. The video was so controversial that not even CMT would play it. Despite this, the music video was named CMA’s Video of the Year.

H/T: Wide Open Country