In this ominous country tune, Garth Brooks tells the tale of two lovers who witness a murder during their secret rendezvous. Because they don't want to reveal their infidelity, they keep quiet about what they see and the victim's death ends up being ruled a suicide. "For me, that night, that scene, will live forever - their first time to lie together," Brooks explained in his 2017 book, The Anthology Part 1: The First Five Years. "And the way the music builds the scene, like once the crime is committed, the police show up and that whole guitar solo that starts with that police siren, [Chris] Leuzinger just paints it."
Originally titled "That Summer Night In 1962," the first version had the lovers witnessing the murder of Marilyn Monroe. The troubled actress's death was ruled a probable suicide by acute barbiturate poisoning, but many believe she was murdered due to her alleged affairs with President John F. Kennedy and his younger brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
For Brooks, much of songwriting is actually rewriting, and this song is a perfect example. "With songs we have so much rewriting to do. They often start one place and end up in another, which happened with this one," he recalled. "We're not writers, we're rewriters. So you write the song, but then you spend a thousand times as long rewriting it, going back over it, making it smoother, making that corner a little nicer so it doesn't jolt you so much, or sharper where you want the jolt. You just rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. But in that process, you're also condensing, boiling the thing down to its essentials, just to get that entire story told in a short amount of time."
In Pieces was Brooks' fourth album to debut at #1 in the US. It also peaked at #2 in the UK - his highest-charting album there.