When Garth Brooks rose to fame in the early '90s, he undeniably became the hottest new act in country music. Shortly after he debuted in mainstream country music, the singer-songwriter was releasing massive hits and headlining major arena tours. He was even inducted into the Grand Ole Opry just one year after the release of his debut album. Fans everywhere were clearly clamoring over the new country star, but not everyone was excited about Brooks' budding stardom.
It has long been rumored that country legend Waylon Jennings was not so fond of new Nashville artist Brooks, causing speculation that there was a spat between Garth Brooks and Waylon Jennings. Two specific quotes that were reportedly uttered by the "Honky Tonk Heroes" artist back up this claim. It's worth noting that neither of these quotes were confirmed by the singer himself. In one of the less substantiated claims, Jennings flings a pretty vulgar phrase involving pantyhose toward the superstar. The other comment comes from Bruce Feiler's book, Dreaming Out Loud: Garth Brooks, Wynonna Judd, Wade Hayes, and the Changing Face of Nashville. According to Feiler's account, Jennings said Brooks was "the most insincere person I've ever seen." He also added, "He thinks it's going to last forever. He's wrong." (quote via Taste of Country).
When Brooks made his return to music after his hiatus, he was asked about the alleged Garth Brooks/Waylon Jennings feud by Broadway's Electric Barnyard, and the "Friends In Low Places" singer shared that he never exchanged any words with Jennings. He also extended nothing but grace to the late country singer.
"Yeah, I was definitely the guy that he targeted," Brooks said. "And it's funny kinda being the nontraditionalist then, and now everyone looks at you like, 'Your stuff is as country as it gets.' So that's kind of a weird view. It was tough for me because he was a country legend and for some reason, I was the guy that got the brunt of it. I never took it that personal. I just think he was addressing the different sound in country music and the changing of the guard. That's tough for anybody to handle. The guy's a legend and deserves nothing but respect."
Despite Jennings' alleged comments, Garth Brooks went to become a one-of-a-kind entertainer in the music industry and is still breaking records to this day. Jennings passed away in 2002, but he left a permanent mark on country music with his many hits as well as his collaborations with his fellow Highwaymen: Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. This memorable era in country music also featured legendary artists such as Merle Haggard, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams Jr. and others.