On This Date: Garth Brooks Hit “That Summer” Was #1 On The Country Charts In 1993

Garth Brooks country music
Liberty Records

Does it get any better than ’90s Garth Brooks?

He certainly sets the bar pretty high when it comes to classic country sound and lyrical storytelling, which is why so many people pack the venues (mainly stadiums now) when he tours.

Brooks is currently setting up for a Las Vegas residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, but long before he was making the fans come to him out in Sin City, he was making a name for himself with songs like “That Summer.”

The hit song was co-written by Brooks, Pat Alger, and Sandy Mahl (Garth’s wife at the time), and was eventually recorded by the country music star and released in April of 1993 as a single for his album The Chase.

“That Summer” was the fourth and last single released from that album, and was also featured on Garth’s compilation albums The Hits, The Ultimate Hits, Double Live, and The Limited Series (Garth goes back to the well a lot).

On The Garth Brooks Story, a television special that aired in 1996, Garth described the song as:

“‘That Summer’ started out as a single guy and a married woman meeting at a party. The married woman 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 the chorus done. Probably one of the neat things that I love about That Summer is that I think the song is very sexy.”

Garth loves a song to be sexy just as much as he likes to get physical playing music… whatever that means.

The song quickly found its way to the number one spot on the Billboard Country Charts in 1993 after originally debuting around the 54th spot. “That Summer” also rocketed up the charts of our northern neighbors, holding the top spot on the Canada Country Tracks as well.

I do think Brooks and the other co-writers picked the right lane for the song. A young boy developing a romance with a widow is a lot more agreeable than a young guy stealing away a married woman.

The beginning of the song sets the scene for the rest of the story:

“I went to work for her that summerA teenage kid so far from homeShe was a lonely widow womanHell bent to make it on her own

We were a thousand miles from nowhereWheat fields as far as I could seeBoth needing something from each otherNot knowing yet what that might be

‘Til she came to me one eveningHot cup of coffee and a smileIn a dress that I was certainShe hadn’t worn in quite a while

There was a difference in her laughterThere was a softness in her eyesAnd on the air there was a hungerEven a boy could recognize”

The chorus is pretty catchy, with Brooks referencing “lightning” and “thunder” as metaphors for newfound love and romance.

You’ve probably already heard it 100 times, but just in case you haven’t, go ahead and give it a listen:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock