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Taking a page from the 1970’s singer-songwriter country movement, Garth Brooks began penning hits for himself and other artists with an over-arching goal of connecting on a deeper level.
On his debut self-titled album, Brooks was credited with writing or co-writing half of the 10-track record. He would see three of his songs reach the Top Ten on Billboard’s U.S. Country chart within a years’ time. It was at that point the world realized Brooks was a force to be reckoned with – both as a singer and a songwriter.
Brooks’ 11th single, “What’s She Doing Now” was another hit he both co-wrote and recorded. Surprisingly, he wasn’t the first to release it.
Fellow country star, Crystal Gayle released it over a year before Brooks did, although it failed to find success on the chart. Her version was relabeled, “What He’s Doing Now”.
Brooks decided to bring the song onboard for his third record, Ropin’ The Wind, because it strikes a deep chord within him.
“It is a song that has crossed all boundaries and borders around the world. This has made me extremely happy because the greatest gift a writer can ask for is to relate to someone. I can’t help but think that this song might relate to a lot of people.“
When Brooks’ single debuted in December 1991, it soared to the top of the charts, becoming his eighth No. 1 single and continuing a seeming endless string of Top Ten hits.
“What She’s Doing Now” is a heartfelt ballad about a man who pines to know what is happening in the life of his former lover and where she’s ended up. Although he never discovers what she’s doing, he admits that not knowing is “tearing [him] apart.”
The singer revealed how the song came to him and what furthered the writing of it in a booklet for one of his compilation albums.
“[The song] was an idea I had a long, long time about a man wondering what a woman was doing. And it was very simple. What is she doing now? Is she hanging out the clothes? Is she running a business? Is she a mother? Is she married? Who is she with?”
“When I told the idea to Pat Alger, he looked at me with a smile and said, ‘I wonder if she knows what she’s doing now to me?‘ When I heard that, the bumps went over my arms and the back of my neck, and I knew that he had something.”
While those goosebumps would prove to be a telling sign for this song, he probably didn’t know he had such a hit that would resonate with so many people.
As one critic says, his “[song themes] should be enough to make a Brooks fan out of anyone with even a mild interest in country music.”
Watch this superstar’s incredible performance of one of his best-selling songs in the video below!