Burning Bridges

Album: Ropin' The Wind (1991)

Songfacts®:

  • In this cut from his third album, Garth Brooks shows compassion for people who'd rather torch their relationships than fix them. He explained in his 2017 book, The Anthology Part 1: The First Five Years. "I like to think the music of 'Burning Bridges' comforted those people that were not stick-arounders, the people that burned bridges even though they didn't mean to, because the only way they knew how to go about what they do was to leave. Some people are just good at leaving, and that's what the character in this song was doing."

    Ultimately, he explains, the leaver is the victim because he'll continue to burn bridges while the woman he left will go on to find a committed partner.
  • It took a while for Mike Palmer, Brooks' drummer, to understand the significance of the opening lyric:

    Yesterday she thanked me for oiling that front door
    This morning when she wakes she won't be thankful anymore
    .

    Palmer thought it was a throwaway line about a chore, but it's actually referring to the character's exit plan. He oiled the squeaky door hinge so he could escape quietly without waking up his soon-to-be-ex-partner.
  • Brooks wrote this with Stephanie C. Brown, a songwriter he met the first night he arrived in Nashville. She became his landlady and, more importantly, connected him with Bob Doyle, his longtime manager who helped launch his career. Brown gave Doyle a cassette containing what would become Brooks' debut single, "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)."
  • Ropin' The Wind was the first album from a country artist to debut at #1 in America.

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