Friends In Low Places

Album: No Fences (1990)
Charted: 36
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  • In the '80s, big-shots would sometimes brag about how they had "friends in high places." Well, in this song, Garth Brooks has friends in low places like the dive bars where he takes his whiskey, and that's just fine with him.

    The song was written by the Nashville songwriters Bud Lee and Dewayne Blackwell; Lee came up with the title one day when they were having lunch with some of their buddies at a restaurant called Tavern on the Row. When the check came, Lee realized he didn't have any money, and said not to worry because "I have friends in low places. I know the cook." (source: The Stories Behind Country Music's All-Time Greatest 100 Songs.)
  • In this song, Brooks plays a cowboy who turns up at the engagement party or wedding reception of an old flame. He makes a toast:

    Honey, we may be through
    But you'll never hear me complain

    Then he sees himself out and drinks himself silly. That's were the song ends, except in live versions, where there's more to it.

    The song is a huge crowd pleaser. Brooks introduces it with a four note arpeggio on his acoustic guitar, which inevitably brings roars of applause. After the second verse, he tells a story along these lines:

    "One day I was driving around back home, and it came on the radio. I said, 'Garth, would you handle this situation that way?' And I said, 'No, I don't think I would.' So I went back and wrote a third verse for this song to make it a little more me."

    He then launches into the extra verse, which most of the crowd inevitably knows:

    Well, I guess I was wrong
    I just don't belong
    But then, I've been there before
    Everything's all right
    I'll just say goodnight
    And I'll show myself to the door
    Hey, I didn't mean
    To cause a big scene
    Just wait till I finish this glass
    But sweet little lady
    I'll head back to the bar
    And you can kiss my ass
  • Mark Chesnutt recorded a more down-tempo version of this song almost a year before Garth Brooks did (Brooks had it on hold first, but it was pitched to Chesnutt when he didn't record it fast enough), though Chesnutt's version was not a single. Chesnutt's appears on his album Too Cold at Home. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Beau - Phoenix, AZ
  • On Garth Brooks: The Hits Garth says: "'Friends in Low Places' was the last demo session I ever did as a singer. The demo was for Bud Lee and Dewayne Blackwell. I sang the session out in Hendersonville, and for the next two weeks the chorus to this song kept running through my head. I knew it would be a year and a half before the release of No Fences because Garth Brooks was just getting ready to be released. I asked Bud Lee and Dewayne if I could hold onto it and, without a blink of an eye, they both said yes. Putting that kind of faith into an unknown artist is unheard of. Thanks Bud and Dewayne for believing in me." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alice - Winston-Salem, NC
  • Garth Brooks closed the last ever episode of The Tonight Show to be hosted by Jay Leno with a performance of this song (Leno had hosted the program for 22 years). Brooks also sang "The Dance" on the show.
  • In 2008, months after Brooks played a series of nine sold-out concerts at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, the Kansas City Royals baseball team started a tradition of playing this song during the sixth inning of every home game. After a few years, it frayed on some fans, and in 2014 was replaced with Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," chosen in an online vote.

    Brooks worked out with the Royals at spring training in 2004 and made contributions to youth baseball initiatives in the area. In 2017, five players from the team joined Brooks on stage to sing "Friends In Low Places" when he played another show at the Sprint Center.
  • This was a #1 hit on the Country chart. Throughout the '90s Brooks notched a total of 17 #1 hits (his first chart-topper, "If Tomorrow Never Comes," was released in 1989).
  • Brooks snapped up the tune after George Strait passed on it. Strait probably didn't kick himself too hard, though. He had two #1 hits in 1990: "Love Without End, Amen" and "I've Come To Expect It From You."
  • In Brooks' 2017 book, The Anthology Part 1: The First Five Years, Chris Leuzinger, who played electric guitar on the album, described how the tune pushed the musicians out of their comfort zone. He said: "They told the band, 'This needs to be like a bar band, like a bunch of guys playing at the end of the night, last song of the set kind of thing.' Usually we were all trained to be very polite in our playing, meaning like I would never think about covering up a steel lick with a guitar lick or covering up a fiddle lick. But Garth was like, 'No, you guys, I just want you to play like you're in a band. So it sounds like a band jamming onstage.'"
  • This earned Brooks a Grammy nomination for Best Male Country Vocal Performance, but he lost to Vince Gill for "When I Call Your Name."
  • Guitarist James Garver suggested they name the song's bar The Oasis after a watering hole in his hometown of Concordia, Kansas.
  • Listen closely to the rowdy chorus and you'll hear someone yell, "Push, Marie!" That's because Garver was at the hospital with his wife, Marie, who was having a baby. Brooks kept the shout-out in the mix for good luck.

    Also you might catch a musician opening a beer can during that raucous party refrain. The noise was picked up by a microphone, but when the album was being mastered, its crack-fizz sound was originally mistaken for an audio glitch.

Comments: 27

  • Eb from Fl Keys, FlI just think this is the quintessential, country, honky-tonk song and someone ought to do a punk version.
  • Cwbywy from Fredericksburg, VaSo, as you know, the song was written well before Garth. Even Mark Chesnut sang the song before him. The story I tell is handed down in my family... This song was written specifically for George Strait. George Strait had/has a huge ranch in south Texas. Down there, in the middle of nowhere was a old red building on the corner of two roads. It was called the oasis. Good for a great hamburger, and cold beer. My grandma and grandpa (Red and Virginia Tollett) used to own this bar. Grandma said he never came there to sing, but he did come there to the Oasis. Matter of fact, George let us arrowhead hunt on his land. Anyway, I digress. The song was not something that George Strait wanted... we all know that George is King of Country and he has his old fashioned style of country. This song then went back into the pool for all the artists to pick from. I didn't know Mark Chesnut sang it, but I did know that Garth took it, changed it up some and made millions. That is the story...
  • Richard from Dunn, NcWhen I was at Oklahoma State University (1960-1965), where Garth Brooks went to school, there was a Bar just off campus in Stillwatercalled the "Oasis". I do not think it is there anymore but maybe Garth "slipped on down to the Oasis" while he was there.
  • Joel from Calgary, AbHate to tell you BUT this is not Garth Brooks singing. Unless the pitch has been turned way down it is actually cover version. You can tell right away by the deepness of the voice.
    Still it is a good song and hailing from Canada we love country music, rodeos, etc. Also you can hear a beer can bieng opened.
  • Cassie from Kansas, KsOmg Garth Brooks's lead guitarist is from my hometown and when he says "i'll sneak down to the oasis" the Oasis is an old bar in Concordia KS!!!
  • Gary from Beaumont, TxSaw Garth Brooks n Vegas @ Wynn,seats 1500. jeans boots n ball cap. He is an outstanding musician and played lots of stuff not his own like James Taylor, Seger, etc. Roy Clark n wife Barbara were there her B-day,Will be back n 2015 whn dtr 18. He said Dwayne wrote the song Low Places and he really did not know where the Oasis was when asked by a Austin TX lady. His only bucket list item, see mom for 5 minutes, cried sincerely. Wife Trisha there. Intimate, worth the time n $, Sold out, got lucky. said see him 4 less n 2015
  • Tyler from Indianapolis, InAt the 3:40 mark in the song you can hear someone yell "PUSH MARIE". While the song was being recorded, one of the band member's wife was going into labor and he wasn't able to make it in time. This is his tribute to his wife and kid.
  • Rob from Concordia, KsTo BobPape, Austin,tx----That song is about a bar that was in the basement of a hotel that was on the corner of fifth and washington in Concordia,ks. A member of the band, James Garver is from Concordia. It is my understanding that the song was inspired by stories he shared. The Oasis had quite a reputation. You had to go through a series of hallways to reach it. Alot of things went unnoticed there because of its location in the basement. Hence the line "low places"
  • Dave from Milwaukee, WiHELP
    I KNOW i played this song in my bar *'81 to '84)
    I need PROOF that this song came out in the early 80s.
  • Michael from San Diego, CaOne of the best drinking & karaoke songs of all time!
  • J.r. from Elkhart, InI sang this song at a local talent show two years ago. Great song. As to what team GB likes I only have this to say...Who Cares?
  • Bobpape from Austin, TxTo Seth, Clyde in KS----- Hate to burst your little bubble, but since this song first came out, I've heard something like that many times over. Apparently (but not surprisingly) there are quite a few bars it this counry with that name. As to weather or not Garth was refering to a particular bar of that name--- Does anybody know where that place that might actually be?
  • James from Edmond, OkThere is a Cemetary in central Oklahoma renamed "Friends in Low Places Cemetary"
  • Trev from New Albany, InBrett and Dustin neither onw know what they are talking about.
    Garth went to Oklahoma State on a javelin scholarship and still appears in OSU promo commercials, so im pretty sure he is an OSU fan.
  • Farrah from Elon, NcI like this song. I've heard the live version and I have to confess that I didn't like the third verse. Garth should've left well enough alone.
  • Caitlin from Upper Township, Njeven though i'm not a huge country fan, i have to admit this is a great song! this song is played at every family gathering my family has!
  • Dustin from Lincoln, NeBrett from OK. Garth may be from Oklahoma, but i'm sure he's a Nebraska Cornhusker fan!! He knows how to pick a good college football team!! Go Huskers!
  • Seth from Clyde , Ksthat song was written in a bar 13 miles from where i live....... who coulda that that. there was a oasis bar he wrote about and some guy from concordia was in his band so he wrote about a song from concordia that made country kick up a next step
  • Jim from Seattle, WaGARTH BROOKS is the Donal Trump of country music. The master of his much own over blown hype. This song should be called " I've got friends in Y'all places". Long Live Classic Rock
  • Joseph from Newport News, VaBrett, GB is from OK, but he went to Oklahoma State. He's probably not a sooner's fan. I don't now why he would want to be anyway.
  • Shelby from Concordia, Ksgreat song...but even better, the oasis that is mentioned in the song was a bar in the the pop. 5,000 town i live in, who woulda thought?
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InA country anthem song for sure. I was never a country fan, but this is one of those tunes that got me intrested in country and I started to enjoy it, both old and new. I saw him in concert back in the 90's and when the 1st few chords of this song are played, the crowd goes nuts, it's electric to say the least.
  • Cory from Boonville, InGarth brooks is one of the best country singers there ever was.
  • Steve from St. Louis, MoMark Chestnutt also recorded this song.
  • Caitlin from Sailsbury, Ncyay i love this song hal sparks made fun of it on i love the 90's
  • Brett from Moore, OkGarth Brooks is from Oklahoma!!!

  • R from O, Dethere is a third verse to this song, but Garth wrote it after the song had already come out. as the story goes, he heard it on the radio one day and it didn't sound right. so he added another verse that he plays in his concerts. the third verse is simple- it is word for word form the second verse, only "just give me an hour and then" is changed to "just wait till i finish this glass" the rest goes- "then sweet little baby i'll come back to the bar, and you can kiss my ass"
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