Learning To Live Again

Album: The Chase (1992)

Songfacts®:

  • In this country ballad, Garth Brooks dives back into the dating pool after the end of a long-term relationship. Things aren't going so well - he quickly forgets his date's name - but as it turns out, his companion is having first-date jitters as well. They each hope the other won't see how this "learning to live again is killing me."
  • Brooks was attracted to the song, written by Nashville veteran Don Schlitz (Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler") and Stephanie Davis (Brooks' co-writer on "We Shall Be Free"), because it was true-to-life. "I just love the realness of it, that, Oh my God, I've forgotten her name," he recalled in his 2017 book, The Anthology Part 1: The First Five Years. "Because the truth is, man, you're thinking of everything except where you're at right at that time. You're still thinking about how you could have saved what you lost. You're wondering what the person you lost is doing right now. You're stupidly scared to death that who you lost is going to walk in and see you with this other person, and half of you is hoping that they do. It's a crazy time in your life if you've ever gone through it. And we all have, in some way. And this song just gets it."
  • This is the only song that Schlitz and Davis wrote together, mostly because they barely got out of the session alive. "It was kind of contentious really," Davis explained in The Anthology Part 1. "We were batting it back and forth. I think people were standing outside the door wondering if they should call 911 the way we were going at it. And he was hospitalized the next day with hives (laughs). So we never wrote again. Truth is, he's a great guy… he's amazing, and he's truly one of the true craftsmen."
  • Schlitz got the idea for the song while she was playing in a bar band. She witnessed an enormous man stumble to a table and, just before he passed out in a drunken stupor, heard him utter, "This learning to live again is killing me." She remembered: "I was just haunted by that line, and so I remembered it, carried it with me for a while."
  • Brooks is set up on his blind date by "Debbie and Charley," which refers to his real-life friends Debbie and Charley Stefl. Their names weren't part of the original lyrics, but the singer requested to add them to give the song a stronger sense of realism to work with. Charley Stefl is a songwriter who co-wrote Brooks' "Everytime That It Rains" and Lee Ann Womack's debut single, "The Fool."
  • This is the third single from Brooks' fifth studio album, The Chase. It peaked at #2 on the Country chart.
  • The Chase was Brooks' second album to debut at #1 in America. Led by Brooks' crossover success, country music was going mainstream. When The Chase made its chart-topping debut, it unseated Billy Ray Cyrus' Some Gave All, which had a consecutive 17-week run at the apex, and prevented Madonna's Erotica from taking the top spot.

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