Garth Brooks revealed the story behind his iconic classic “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” Over the years, the song has become one of Brooks’ signature songs. But at the time, the country singer didn’t know if the song would sell.
Brooks invited Country Music Hall of Fame inductee and mentor Kent Blazy on his podcast Inside StudioG to discuss their career together. Both Blazy and Brooks wrote the song together in the 1980s. Blazy reflected on the first time Brooks approached him about the tune.
“Garth came in and at the time, he was wearing these big long dusters and big cowboy hat,” Blazy said. “He looked like he was eight feet tall. I was sitting on the couch with my guitar and I had some ideas I had worked on. He stood above me and said, ‘I got this song I’ve run by 25 writers and nobody likes it.’ And I just said, ‘Gee thanks.’ He said, ‘Don’t you want to hear it?’ I said, ‘Yeah play it for me.'”
Garth Brooks Worked on the Song with Kent Blazy
Brooks told him the title of the song and shared the lyrics. Blazy thought the song was good, but he had his own suggestions for improvement. The two sat down and workshopped the lyrics.
“I said, ‘Well, it’s pretty good except you’re killing somebody off in the first couple of lines. Like killing the star of the movie off in the first three minutes,'” Blazy said. “Then he got mad, and said what would you do? And I told him and we did it. What so funny is I have the original lyrics still. He said I spit the first verse and he wrote it down. And he said it was the only lyric he’s written since then.”
Brooks jokingly confessed the secret to great songwriting is letting someone else do all the hard work. He said, “I couldn’t write fast enough. You were on fire. It was one of those things. The trick about great songwriting is to have somebody else do all the work and put your name down at the bottom.”
When the two finished the song, they had a hard time finding an artist to sing it. They pitched the song all over Nashville, but no artist picked up the song.
“We pitched it all over town and we thought we had written a good song,” Blazy said. “But no one seemed interested. I think George [Jones] had it on hold for a week or something like that. It ended up where it was supposed to go.”
Brooks ended up recording the song himself. The song featured on Brooks’ second album The Hits and became his first No.1 single on the country charts. It also won him an ACM Award.