Standing Outside The Fire

Album: In Pieces (1993)
Charted: 28
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about taking chances - risking life and not playing it safe, because without taking chances you'll never know what you can achieve. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Emma - Wesford, Ireland
  • Brooks wrote this with Jenny Yates, a songwriter from Los Angeles. During their meeting, he described something that just "stood outside the fire" for him, and it immediately sparked the song idea.
  • Brooks is no stranger to taking risks, especially in pushing the boundaries of country music with rock influences or taking a stance on racial equality and gay rights (in "We Shall Be Free"). That fearlessness is at the heart of the song. He wrote in his 2017 book, The Anthology Part 1: The First Five Years: "This one was a statement I felt like I needed to make, maybe because it was also a statement I needed to hear. You know, it's one of those songs about living, about taking those risks, those chances, not playing it safe, allowing failure, allowing a little mess along the way. What is it they say, 'Better to fail trying than to never try?' If we don't respond to passion - to that thing deep within us - are we really living the fullest life? And I've always believed that. And throughout my life, songs have been the things that have helped me remember that. This song joined that family. And once we brought it in the studio, it got a treatment that was different from anything we'd ever done."
  • This is the third single from Brooks' sixth studio album, In Pieces. It peaked at #3 on the Country chart.
  • The music video, directed by Jon Small, introduces Brandon, a high school student with Down syndrome who trains to participate at a track & field event at his school despite his father's fears that he'll embarrass himself. At the race, he trips and falls, but his dad, ignoring the coach's protests, encourages Brandon to get back on his feet and complete the race.
  • The video's school scenes were filmed at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, where Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" was also shot.
  • In 1993, Brooks embarked on his first world tour to support the album, with each concert starting with "Standing Outside The Fire" accompanied by fire pyrotechnics.

Comments: 5

  • Calvin from Auckland - CentralI have been a huge fan of Garth Brooks since the early 90s. This video is amazing . I have 4 children and one is special needs, he competes in the special Olympics. He is going to the national games at the end of this year. He's worked so hard and makes me proud every day. Learning to play the drums so he can be like Mike palmer, Garths drummer. For any parent to be embarrassed at their kids for trying is unthinkable to me. Your kids are the most important thing personal pride has no place. This video just puts it in perspective.
    He loves this song, and some of his team mates have Down Syndrome. So he can relate it to what he has seen himself. Great song and a great message. Just because your different doesn't mean you shouldn't try it. Having a child with disabilities has made me a more patient and understanding person, giving me a new respect for what these kids and athletes have to put up with.
  • Sarah from Truckee, CaNo, it wasn't We Shall Be Free. Jill is right...the video features a high school boy with Down Syndrome who decides not to participate in the school's Special Olympics but signs up for the regular event instead.
  • Deb from Piggott, Arnope, that was we shall be free. Sorry.
  • Deb from Piggott, ArI don't remember where I read this, but: I remember this is about Garth's sister, who was in his band and is gay. He loved her, was proud of her and admired her strength in dealing with life.
  • Jill from Nederland, Txthe music video features a mentally challenged boy trying out for the athletic trackteam instead of the special team
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Spooner Oldham

Spooner OldhamSongwriter Interviews

His keyboard work helped define the Muscle Shoals sound and make him an integral part of many Neil Young recordings. Spooner is also an accomplished songwriter, whose hits include "I'm Your Puppet" and "Cry Like A Baby."

Graham Nash

Graham NashSongwriter Interviews

Graham Nash tells the stories behind some of his famous songs and photos, and is asked about "yacht rock" for the first time.

Paul Stanley of Kiss, Soul Station

Paul Stanley of Kiss, Soul StationSongwriter Interviews

Paul Stanley on his soul music project, the Kiss songs with the biggest soul influence, and the non-make-up era of the band.

David Gray

David GraySongwriter Interviews

David Gray explains the significance of the word "Babylon," and talks about how songs are a form of active imagination, with lyrics that reveal what's inside us.

Mark Arm of Mudhoney

Mark Arm of MudhoneySongwriter Interviews

When he was asked to write a song for the Singles soundtrack, Mark thought the Seattle grunge scene was already overblown, so that's what he wrote about.

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum

Dave Pirner of Soul AsylumSongwriter Interviews

Dave explains how the video appropriated the meaning of "Runaway Train," and what he thought of getting parodied by Weird Al.