Garth Brooks "Beaches of Cheyenne" Has Quite the Backstory

·3 min read

You know what we're fixing for right about now? An uninterrupted Garth Brooks 1990s listening session — preferably with a backyard, a breeze, and nobody judging our dance moves.

One of our favorite Brooks hits? 1995's "The Beaches of Cheyenne," off of the album Fresh Horses. Rising in the charts to the number one spot on Billboard's Hot Country Songs, we love the catchy, mid-tempo song. The lyrics, however, have always left us scratching our head.

"They packed up all his buckles and shipped his saddle to his dad / And by the way the house looked, she must have took it bad / The workers come on Monday to fix the door and patch the wall / They say she just went crazy the night she got the call," the song begins. "He was up in Wyoming and drew a bull no man could ride / He promised her he'd turn own well it turned out that he lied / And the dreams that they'd been living in the California sand / Died right there beside him in Cheyenne," Brooks croons. Things only get stranger from there: "They say she just went crazy screamin' out his name / She ran out into the ocean and to this day they claim / That if you go down by the water you'll see her footprints in the sand / 'Cause every night she walks the beaches of Cheyenne."

So what is this enigmatic tune all about? Co-written by Brooks, Bryan Kennedy and Dan Roberts, it turns out it was quite the process to get onto paper, with Kennedy telling TheBoot.com in 2014 it was "one of most difficult songs I've ever been a part of." The inspiration to get to work on the tune came from Brooks, while he was hard at work on the Fresh Horses album. As Roberts recalled to the outlet, Brooks walked Roberts to the truck following a studio session and said, "I'm still looking for a song, a cross between Chris LeDoux and the Bellamy Brothers or George Strait, with a beaches theme, like 'Beaches of Cheyenne.'" Roberts said something to the effect of "cool title, but I don't know what it means," and shortly thereafter, they attempted to write the song.

Garth Brooks The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Season 4
Garth Brooks The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Season 4

Margaret C. Norton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Unfortunately for the musicians, they couldn't get much of a song written, and the trio were struggling to bring that initial idea from Brooks to life. Until...while sitting on Kennedy's porch — which was located on Brooks' property at the time — someone who worked on the grounds alerted them that a pipe had broken in the barn and horses were standing in a few inches of water. As they hopped into a four-wheeler to deal with the broken pipe, the a-ha moment came: "Garth just about killed all of us on the way to the barn. One of us said, 'What if it was a girl?' So in the middle of getting the horses out and stalls cleared, we began to write it that way," shared Kennedy. From there, they were able to rewrite the song from the perspective of a woman, and the song was on its way to becoming one of Brooks' most loved works.

As for actual beaches in Cheyenne, that's just another Brooks' signature flair of intrigue. There may be no beaches in the landlocked state, but it sure is nice to sing about them.