Garth Brooks on 10/1/93 in Chicago,Il.
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'Standing Outside the Fire': The Story Behind Garth Brooks' Song For Dreamers


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Every now and then, country music delivers a hit that challenges us to connect with ourselves and take the time to evaluate our position in the world. Garth Brooks' "Standing Outside the Fire" is one of those instant classics that makes you look inward.

Jenny Yates and Brooks co-wrote the introspective tune. It was released as the third single from his 1993 album In Pieces. In 1994, it peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

"I was in Los Angeles in 1992, hanging out with a good friend, Jenny Yates," Brooks wrote in the liner notes his The Hits compilation. "In a conversation I was describing something that I thought was really close, but for me it just stood outside the fire. There was that brilliant moment of silence when we just looked at each other and smiled. Within an hour and half, this song was written. This is another song of inspiration, and Jenny is that way when it comes to inspiration. I don't know if I have ever met a bigger dreamer than Jenny..."

The song pairs perfectly with its story-driven official music video. The video depicts a teenager with Down Syndrome, Brandon, going through milestones: learning to drive, making it through high school and competing in sports. Brandon signs up for track & field, in events against classmates. His parents do not see eye-to-eye with him about this decision, but his mother encourages him to practice and work hard for what he wants.

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During the race, Brandon falls and his coach tries to run over and help him. His dad tells the coach that his son isn't finished and continues to encourage Brandon to finish the race that he worked so hard for. Ultimately, Brandon meets his parents' embrace at the finish line. The tender moment brings the lyrics to life and makes viewers feel every emotion the song evokes.

In Pieces was Brooks' third consecutive non-holiday album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and the Billboard Country Albums chart. Additional singles were "Ain't Going Down ('Til The Sun Comes Up)," "American Honky-Tonk Bar Association," "Callin' Baton Rouge" and "One Night a Day." Yates co-wrote two other album tracks: "The Red Strokes" and "The Night Will Only Know."

"Standing Outside the Fire" also appears on Brooks' Double Live and multiple greatest hits compilations.

This story was originally published on July 11, 2021.

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"Standing Outside the Fire" Lyrics:

We call them cool
Those hearts that have no scars to show
The ones that never do let go
And risk it the tables being turned

We call them fools
Who have to dance within the flame
Who chance the sorrow and the shame
That always come with getting burned

But you got to be tough when consumed by desire
'Cause it's not enough just to stand outside the fire
We call them strong
Those who can face this world alone
Who seem to get by on their own
Those who will never take the fall

We call them weak
Who are unable to resist
The slightest chance love might exist
And for that forsake it all

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They're so hell-bent on giving, walking a wire
Convinced it's not living if you stand outside the fire

Standing outside the fire
Standing outside the fire
Life is not tried it is merely survived
If you're standing outside the fire

There's this love that is burning
Deep in my soul
Constantly yearning to get out of control
Wanting to fly higher and higher
I can't abide standing outside the fire

READ MORE: The 10 Best Garth Brooks Songs, From 'Unanswered Prayers' and 'The River' to 'The Dance' and 'Friends in Low Places'

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