Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)

Album: Garth Brooks (1989)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Much Too Young" was Garth Brooks' first single, and his first hit, reaching #8 on the Country chart. He wrote it with his friend Randy Taylor while he was still playing in bars in his native Oklahoma. When Taylor heard the story of a weary musician on the road, he suggested they make the song about a rodeo cowboy instead. This led to some confusion about Taylor's identity. Because there was an actual rodeo rider named Randy Taylor in Oklahoma, folks assumed for years that he was the one who co-wrote the tune.

    American Songwriter straightened out the mix-up in 2020 when they reached out to both Randy Taylors. The rodeo rider-turned-announcer confirmed that while he was asked about the song often, he'd never met Brooks in his life. The real songwriter is an agricultural engineer and a member of the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering faculty at Oklahoma State University, who said of the song's success: "I just got lucky. Actually, it was a combination of luck and working with somebody who was really good."
  • One line mentions a "worn-out tape of Chris LeDoux." Randy Taylor came up with that line; Brooks had never heard of LeDoux, a country singer with a modest following. That afternoon, the pair drove around Stillwater, Oklahoma, in a truck listening to actual worn-out tapes of LeDoux, and Brooks became a fast fan.

    When the song became a hit, it resurrected LeDoux's career; Brooks and LeDoux later collaborated on "What'cha Gonna Do With a Cowboy?" LeDoux passed away in 2005 at age 56.
  • In his book The Anthology Part 1: The First Five Years, Brooks explained how the song came together. "It gets written, and then when we play it, there's kind of a sixteenth note thing on the high hat and a finger roll that runs through it because banjo was the first thing I ever learned how to play," he recalled. "So that finger roll's on the front, a little fiddle solo to get that lonesome kind of 'Amarillo By Morning' feel of a cowboy in his truck with the sun coming up, driving all night because he's got a rodeo that day."

    But Brooks had to muster the courage to tell the rhythm section, a group of seasoned players from Muscle Shoals and Memphis, they weren't capturing the cowboy feel of an Oklahoma honky-tonk that he envisioned. To his relief, they caught on quickly and the Garth Brooks sound was born. He said: "Milton [Sledge, drummer] hears me, starts this ticky-ticky on the high hat and [Mark] Casstevens, who's the greatest finger roll player because he does ragtime, starts this wonderful thing. I'm there screaming at the top of my lungs, everybody has their headphones on. 'That's it, that's it!'"
  • When this was released as the album's first single, Randy Taylor finally got what he wanted all along: a boat he named Much Too Young.
  • In 2017, Jason Aldean recorded an acoustic cover for Spotify's Spotify Singles series.
  • Brooks initially came to Nashville to be a songwriter, not a singer. He planned on pitching this song to George Strait before recording it himself.

Comments: 6

  • Jennifur Sunsadly the older I have gotten the more I feel like the title of this song
  • Buzz from Fairbanks, AkI've followed Chris LeDoux since seeing him in concert at the Montana State Fair in 1989. Heard him interviewed on American Country Countdown many years age. He said he was driving with his family somewhere in WY first time he heard this song. He said as he listened to it, he liked the song, as it was somethign he could really relate to. When he heard his name mentioned, he did/said nothing. A few minutes after the song was over, he turned to his wife and asked her if she'd heard what he did. She smiled and said that she had, but wasn't sure she'd believed it until he asked her. It was a cool story, but nothing like he drove off the road/freaked out...
    Like Garth Brooks, Chris was a great concert performer.
  • Joel from Lawrence, KsI like the fact that this song is about rodeo. It also mentions Chris LeDoux's name in a later lyric. We would listen to this song as well as many others on road trips.
  • Kevin from Sandy, UtIt's been said that the first time Chris LeDoux heard this song he was driving his truck and when it mentioned his name he had to pull over because he couldn't believe it.
  • J.t. from Winnemucca, NvGarth DID idolize Chris, but Chris didn't really idolize Garth. Garth always said that including Chris's name in the song is what made it a hit, Chris always said that Garth using his name resurected him and thanked him.
  • Jennie from Gouldsboro, United StatesI think it's funny that Garth idolized Chris LeDoux and Chris idolized Garth
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