“Older ladies… I like that.”
Garth Brooks has a discography that could rival just about anybody in country music. One of the best selling musicians of all time, the man is still selling out stadiums across the country, and even stadiums across the pond.
And one of his biggest hits is a song called “That Summer.” Released in 1993, it was the fourth and final single from his album, The Chase.
You probably already know the story…
The song was written by Garth Brooks himself, Pat Alger, and Brooks’ wife at the time, Sandy Mahl, the song tells the story of a teenage boy that goes to work for a lonely old woman who is a widow. She starts getting all hot and bothered, puts on a dress, and essentially seduces the kid… who is a virgin.
We’re not quite sure how old she is, or how old the kid is, but her “leather hands” would lend us to believe that she’s over 50, maybe even 60? And the kid… probably 16 or 17?
Nevertheless, the two enjoy a passionate summer of… sex… a coming of age story for our young hero, who presumably heads back home and tells all his buddies how he spent the summer in the sack with some old lady.
And let’s not try to act like that wouldn’t be a dream scenario for most high school boys…
During a TV special, Garth explained some of the history behind the song, which didn’t originally start out with this storyline:
“‘That Summer’ started out as a single guy and a married woman meeting at a party. The married woman was being ignored by whom she was with and they snuck off together.
Allen Reynolds told me, ‘Man, I just don’t find myself pulling for these characters. It doesn’t seem innocently cool.’
I was thinking that he was right. Going home that night in the truck I started singing she has a need to feel the thunder. Sandy started helping me write the chorus and we got it done. Probably one of the neat things that I love about ‘That Summer’ is that I think the song is very sexy.”
“Sexy” is one way to put it, Garth…
“Criminal” might be another?
And I’ll admit, it’s one of my favorite Garth Brooks songs, but you can’t help but feel like we’re flirting with the age of consent line here a bit. And let’s be honest, because it’s a teenage boy, let’s call him 17 years old… and a woman who is, say 55… the song doesn’t feel quite as gross.
However, it gets REALLY creepy when you flip the roles around.
Teenage virgin girl goes to work for horny old man, and they wind up hooking up all summer? Call Chris Hansen because we a got a predator that needs catching. Call Liam Neeson because this poor girl has been Taken and we need that particular set of skills. And then bury the old dude under the jail.
In what world would a song like that fly? Never…
Hell, I don’t even think the real version would get released today.
Anyways, I think this comedian may have just ruined this song for me…
Garth even performed the song at the 1993 ACM Awards: