Papa Loved Mama

Album: Ropin' The Wind (1991)


  • While Papa's away, Mama will play, so the story goes in this fast-paced country tune that has a trucker taking revenge on his unfaithful wife and her lover. The fourth single from Garth Brooks' third album, the song was inspired by a newspaper story of a semi-tractor crashing into a seedy motel. "I mean, it's buried, the roof's down and everything," Brooks recalled in his 2017 book, The Anthology Part 1: The First Five Years. "Now I don't know if the trucker just fell asleep and hit the place or what. I don't think it was planned like a murder or anything. But it gave us the ingredients for a song."
  • Brooks already had all the songs for Ropin' The Wind, the last cut being a cover of Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight," when he brought the idea for "Papa Loved Mama" to Kim Williams, his co-writer on "New Way To Fly." It came together quickly and they loved it so much they decided to include it on the album, bumping the Cline cover to The Chase.
  • This peaked at #3 on the Country chart.
  • The chorus is taken from a Carl Sandburg poem:

    Papa loved mama
    Mama loved men
    Mama's in the graveyard
    Papa's in the pen
  • David Allan Coe covered this on his 1994 album The Perfect Country And Western Song.
  • Brooks distinguished himself from other "hat acts" coming up in early '90s country music by incorporating elements of '70s and '80s rock into his sound. On Ropin' The Wind, he took a gamble and covered Billy Joel's "Shameless," which paid off when it went to #1 on the Country chart. The album, which debuted at #1 in the US, helped usher Brooks - and country music - into the mainstream.


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