Not Counting You

Album: Garth Brooks (1989)
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Songfacts®:

  • In this upbeat fiddle tune, Garth Brooks proclaims he's always been lucky in love and has never had a woman break his heart… "not counting you." The balance of bravado and vulnerability was appealing to the singer, who included it on his self-titled debut album. Brooks, who also wrote the song, noted in his 2017 book, The Anthology Part 1: The First Five Years:

    "As a songwriter, you write a lot of your stuff for females. Sometimes you wonder, as a guy, 'Is this too vulnerable to say?' But this one had an interesting mix. There's that line I felt really good about that goes, 'When it comes to heartaches, it's better to give than to receive.' When I was young, I always thought that to say you had a heartache made you a weaker person. Being the victim in a song was a hard position for me to take. But 'Not Counting You' sets up that character, then it turns. It's all bravado, and then… damn, this guy's a wreck. I look at that lyric now and I can see the classic country style, like it's something from a Jack Greene record, or from the classic '60s stuff that my mom raised me on."
  • This was the third single released from the album, and it peaked at #2 on the Country chart. It was supposed to be the second single, following "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)," but was bumped for the chart-topping ballad "If Tomorrow Never Comes."
  • Although Brooks wanted to be a performer, Brooks originally came to Nashville to be a songwriter, not a recording artist. Still, he wasn't very confident in the songs her wrote and didn't want to include too many of them on his debut album. That all changed when he heard what a stellar rhythm section could do to a song. "Remember, this town has the greatest writers on the planet. You can't out-write Nashville," he explained in The Anthology Part 1. "But then this band took them and, all of the sudden, made them very inviting, just delicious to play. Holy cow, I didn't know the songs could sound like that! These guys get it to where you go, 'I want to jump in here now!' I never saw the power of 'Not Counting You' or understood what that record would mean for us. Not until then."

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