Throwback: Controversy Surrounds Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls”

garth brooks the thunder rolls

photo: Henry Diltz/ AP

Back in 1990, Garth Brooks and Pat Alger co-wrote "The Thunder Rolls", at the time they didn't realize the controversy it would cause...

In 1991, country music star Garth Brooks released his 6th number one hit song, “The Thunder Rolls” from his album No Fences. The song was written in 1990 by Brooks and Pat Alger. Originally, the two songwriters wanted Tanya Tucker or Reba McEntire to pick up the song. Tanya did record the song, but by the time it was released, Brooks had his own recording. In 1991, Brooks also released the controversial video. The Country Music Association honored the video with the Music Video of the Year award. The video featured a cheating husband returning home to his wife on a stormy night after spending time with another woman. During the third verse of the song, not a version often heard, the wife vengefully gets a gun and vows her husband will never cheat again.

She runs back down the hallway and through the bedroom door

She reaches for the pistol kept in the dresser draw

Tells the lady in the mirror he won’t do this again

‘Cause tonight will be the last time, she’ll wonder where he’s been

Networks Won’t Play Video

At the time, the Nashville Network and Country Music Television ban the airing of the video, publicly stating the networks are “in the business to entertain, not promote or condone gratuitous violence or social issues.” Despite the networks ban, the song got plenty of air time. Many radio stations and some women’s shelters supported the song, campaigning to “save the video” by signing petitions. They believed the song brought attention to the problem of domestic violence.

Covering The Song

“The Thunder Rolls” has been covered by many artists including Jet Black Stare and most recently by the Metalcore band, All That RemainsYou can find the song on All That Remains’ 8th studio album, Madness, released on April 28th, 2017. Each music genre give the song its own special sound and makes for an interesting twist to a country original.

Watch Garth perform “The Thunder Rolls” live on Good Morning America below!

“The Thunder Rolls” Lyrics (Long Version)

Three thirty in the morning, not a soul in sight
The city’s lookin’ like a ghost town , on a moonless summer night
Raindrops on the windshield , there’s a storm moving in
He’s headin’ back from somewhere, that he never should have been

And the thunder rolls
And the thunder rolls

Every light is burnin’, in a house across town
She’s pacin’ by the telephone, in her faded flannel gown
Askin’ for miracle, hopin’ she’s not right
Prayin’ it’s the weather, that’s kept him out all night

And the thunder rolls
And the thunder rolls

The thunder rolls, and the lightnin’ strikes
Another love grows cold, on a sleepless night
As the storm blows on, out of control
Deep in her heart, the thunder rolls

She’s waiting by the window, when he pulls into the drive
She rushes out to hold him, thankful he’s alive
But on the wind and rain, a strange new perfume blows
And the lightnin’ flashes in her eyes, and he knows that she knows

And the thunder rolls
And the thunder rolls

The thunder rolls, and the lightnin’ strikes
Another love grows cold, on a sleepless night
As the storm blows on, out of control
Deep in her heart, the thunder rolls

She runs back down the hallway, and through the bedroom door
She reaches for the pistol, kept in the dresser drawer
Tells the lady in mirror, he won’t do this again
‘Cause tonight will be the last time, she’ll wonder where he’s been

The thunder rolls, and the lightnin’ strikes
Another love grows cold darlin’, on a sleepless night
As the storm blows on, out of control
Deep in her heart, the thunder rolls

Share this look back at this popular song with other country music fans!

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