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Garth Brooks mourns late “Friends in Low Places” songwriter Dewayne Blackwell

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Out of all of Garth Brooks’ beloved country hits, perhaps none is quite as recognizable as “Friends in Low Places.” The song was co-written in 1989 by Earl Bud Lee and Dewayne Blackwell, the latter of whom died last weekend.

To honor Blackwell’s memory, Garth thought back to his first experiences with “Friends in Low Places,” recounting to Billboard how he ended up recording the song, as well as the profound effect it had on his career.

“I [sang] the demo for that,” Garth says, revealing that the song was actually being pitched to an already legendary country star — and one of Garth’s heroes.

“They were pitching it to [George] Strait, and all I know was I did demos sometimes five, nine times a day and this was the one I couldn’t get out of my head for months,” he continues. “…I never [could] believe that me as an artist would take that song on. And now I can’t imagine being the artist I’ve got to be without that song.”

“Friends in Low Places” ultimately landed on Garth’s second album, No Fences. It was his third number-one radio hit, following “The Dance” and “If Tomorrow Never Comes.”

“What we lost when we lost Dewayne Blackwell was someone who truly was a craftsman, not a settler. He would not settle,” adds Garth. “He was not one of those guys that would let anything pass. He did it for the sake of the song and for the sake of entertainment. He understood that.”

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