Music

'The Beaches of Cheyenne': Behind Garth Brooks' Mysterious Hit

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Garth Brooks has a knack for writing songs that feature a little bit of mystery and sorrow, and "The Beaches of Cheyenne" is no exception. Released in 1995 as the third single from his Fresh Horses album, "The Beaches of Cheyenne" tells the story of a cowboy who lives in California with his wife or love interest, but who participates in rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming. At the onset of the song, it's clear the man has died after he "drew a bull no man could ride," and his love interest is stricken with instant grief ("And by the way the house looked, she must have took it bad.")

This grief then causes her to run "out into the ocean" and never come back. The song then goes on to reveal that sometimes, late at night, one can mysteriously see the woman's footprints in the sand as she "walks the beaches of Cheyenne." In the third verse, the lyrics also say that the woman and the man got into a fight prior to the man's death, during which the woman said, "I don't give a damn if you never come back from Cheyenne." This fight may have provided the extra guilt and grief that caused her to allegedly take her own life.

The song is clearly a sad one, which isn't rare in country music, but Brooks said on the day he wrote it with songwriters Dan Roberts and Bryan Kennedy, they had originally set out to write an upbeat song.

"[It was] supposed to be real funny," Brooks once said. "Kind of like cowboys on the beach, kind of, swingin' kind of thing."

However, the song soon turned into something darker on the day they wrote it on Brooks' property. Roberts explained to The Boot that the song originally focused on the male cowboy, but the focus switched to the woman when Brooks accidentally changed the pronoun while singing the hook.

"What we had was about a guy who was living in California, a businessman working a regular job who always wished he could rodeo. So he walks the beaches at night and thinks about Cheyenne," said Roberts. "Garth had the guitar, he was writing the melody and singing, 'Every night he walks the beaches of Cheyenne,' and then Garth sings, 'Every night SHE walks the beaches of Cheyenne' by mistake. We were all, 'Yeah it's about a woman.' So when he sang that, we started getting focused in that it's about a woman, and the story materialized out of that."

Read More: 'Two Pina Coladas': The Story Behind The Feel-Good Garth Brooks Hit

The song went on to become Brooks' 15th number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, following other hits such as "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)" "If Tomorrow Never Comes," "Friends In Low Places," "Unanswered Prayers," "The Thunder Rolls," "Shameless," "What She's Doing Now," "Standing Outside The Fire," "Callin' Baton Rouge," and more.

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'The Beaches of Cheyenne' Lyrics:

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

[Verse 2]
Well, he was up in Wyoming
And drew a bull no man could ride
He promised her he'd turn out
Well, it turned out that he lied
And all the dreams that they'd been livin'
In the California sand
Died right there beside him
In Cheyenne

[Chorus]
They 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

[Verse 3]
They never found her body
Just her diary by the bed
It told about the fight they had
And the words that she had said
When he told her he was ridin'
She said "Then I don't give a damn
If you never come back
From Cheyenne"

[Chorus]

[Verse 4]
Nobody can explain it
Some say she's still alive
They've even claimed they've seen her
On the shoreline late at night
'Cause if you go down by the water
You'll see her footprints in the sand
'Cause every night she walks the beaches
Of Cheyenne

 

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'The Beaches of Cheyenne': Behind Garth Brooks' Mysterious Hit