That Summer

Album: The Chase (1992)
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Songfacts®:

  • Co-written by Garth Brooks, his wife Sandy Mahl-Brooks, and guitarist Pat Alger, this song - probably a fantasy - is about a youth who loses his virginity to an older woman while he is working on her farm miles from anywhere. Though not in any way sexually explicit, the listener is left in no doubt as to what happened after he'd drunk his coffee. Such encounters are not uncommon either in real life or in fiction; probably the best known cinematic example is the 1967 film The Graduate - based on the novel of the same name - in which an introverted youth is seduced by a bored and totally wanton housewife - Mrs. Robinson. A less sordid encounter occurs in the 1971 film Summer Of '42 wherein a young war widow has a liaison with a precocious youth, a scenario more in keeping with this uptempo but sensitive Garth Brooks number in which two strangers are drawn together by loneliness and circumstances, and where the youth in question is haunted by this transient experience for the rest of his life.

    A paradox here is that such sexual encounters are considered taboo when the older party is male and the teen is a young girl, while a young man whose virginity is taken by an experienced older woman is simply undergoing a rite of passage. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • Introducing this song at a showcase in Nashville in 2016, Garth Brooks explained: "There's a seed and from that seed some people might call exaggeration, some people might call it journalistic liberties, but I think you take that seed and you run with it and then you start to paint the picture.

    I was lucky enough to date some girls in high school, and this is a song about one of those girls. She was a senior, I was a junior, and that was the seed. This is what came out of that."
  • Brooks and Alger had to go back to the drawing board a couple times because Brooks' producer, Allen Reynolds, hated the song. Alger suspects the earlier versions placed too much emphasis on the physical rather than emotional components for Reynolds' taste. The songwriters didn't take Reynolds' opinion lightly because he was also an accomplished songwriter himself, with hits like "Five O'Clock World" by the Vogues and "Wrong Road Again" by Crystal Gayle to his credit.
  • Brooks wrote of the song in his 2017 book, The Anthology Part 1: The First Five Years: "I love the song simply because it talks about great sex with two people that share a fantastic moment, with no regrets and no hesitation. And it kind of fills the needs of both partners, in two different ways, but completes the puzzle in one tremendous way."
  • Brooks relied on Trisha Yearwood to bring the height to the chorus, and it was a tall order. "Garth asked me to sing both parts because the third was too high for him," she explained in The Anthology Part 1. "So on the record, I am doing my best Garth impersonation and then I added the higher harmony. Trust me, those harmonies were not easy to sing."
  • This is the fourth and final single from Brooks' fifth studio album, The Chase. It peaked at #1 on the Country chart, giving the singer his 11th chart-topping single.
  • The Chase debuted at #1 in America, ending Billy Ray Cyrus' 17-week reign at the top with his debut album, Some Gave All, and preventing Madonna from reaching the apex with her Erotica album. Of course, it also peaked at #1 on the Country Albums chart.
  • When Brooks was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2012, Bob Seger sang this as part of a tribute to the singer.

Comments: 12

  • Scarlet From Anywhere from The KitchenThis is a great song. It's astonishing that people have misinterpreted the lyrics the way they have. It makes t wonder about what they have been taught about the human race; about men and women. At 18 if you can defend the nation ........
    Not a child.
  • Jenni from NebraskaYou tightly wound people need to skip by this song. If you aren't going to understand it, or really listen to what it's saying. Her hands of leather doesn't mean she's OLD, it means she worked her land HERSELF! Have you ever met a woman who did all things herself? Yes, she was older, yes, he was 18. But they both made the choice, made the decision. He wasn't drunk neither was she. He cherished the memory always. If you want to call her sick because he was 18, best call out the military on allowing "children" to fight for your country.
  • Jacquelyn Fraley from Leander, TxIncredible song lyrics. The song/imagery move me every time I hear it. There are so many different comments. It just goes to show you the uniqueness of individuality. I’m pretty sure there’s not a songwriter alive that doesn’t envy the creativity exemplified in these lyrics. Love love love
  • William from AlabamaThis is one the most we'll written beautiful songs I believe I've ever heard. I remember being 17 with a lady of 36 it was one of the greatest evenings of my life. I will always remember.
  • Alex from Idaho I read the comments and they are so stupid. He is 18 in this song so however old she is doesn’t matter because it’s legal weather it’s even true or not. Some of you must have no idea what kinds of songs are written today. Songs about rape, murder, drugs, etc... This song is nowhere near that level of most “songs” today. People find everything to complain about these days even a good Garth brooks song.
  • Buddy from FloridaAn 18 year old is not a child. One cannot be both a child and an adult. So which is it? Furthermore I think this song points out the hypocrisy within our society. It seems to be socially acceptable for an older woman to be with a younger man. but let the rules in this song be reversed and Garth probably would have went to prison for kiddie p***. I remember I was a child when this song came out and how much every woman loved this song. but yet as a junior in high school I dated a freshman. I can't tell you how angry the women around me got for that. I was called a pedophile in a cradle robber. To clarify I was 17 she was 15. What this proved to me is it people really just need to mind their own business. So long as the letter of the law is being followed and the two are genuinely in love it's no one else's concern. So how about you sweep the dust off of your own back porch before you go sweep and round others.
  • Shannon from Oakdale I felt so weird hearing this song tonight. If it were opposite, it would be so bad!
  • Tracy French from OregonIt's actually about Garth and his ex wife and mother of his children. She even helped write it..
  • Catherine from OklahomaI HATE when this song comes on. I feel it is a very poor tasteful song, where an older woman takes advantage of a younger child and it’s disgusting. Worst song I think he’s ever written! Makes me want to puke. He can’t say it was about a senior and he was a junior - her hands of leather. Maybe a senior citizen and that’s disturbing. If he was my child I would have to go kick some old lady ass for molesting my child.
  • Veronica from TexasI wish stations would quit playing this song! It’s gross and about an old lady taking advantage of a child!!
  • Jeff from MnThat is not the correct use of the word paradox.
  • Amanda from Grand Rapids, MiProbably one of my favorite Garth Brooks songs.
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