Monday, August 27, 1990

Garth Brooks’ No Fences released

First posted 2/22/2008; updated 12/3/2020.

No Fences

Garth Brooks

Released: August 27, 1990

Peak: 3 US, 141 CW, -- UK, 49 CN, 11 AU

Sales (in millions): 18.0 US, -- UK, 23.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: country


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. The Thunder Rolls (5/18/91, 1 CW)
  2. New Way to Fly
  3. Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House (2/9/91, 1 CW)
  4. Victim of the Game
  5. Friends in Low Places (8/18/90, 1 CW, 36 UK)
  6. Wild Horses (11/25/00, 7 CW, 43a US)
  7. Unanswered Prayers (11/3/90, 1 CW)
  8. Same Old Story
  9. Mr. Blue
  10. Wolves

Total Running Time: 38:29


4.250 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)

Quotable: No Fences captures Garth Brooks just after his initial success yet before superstardom.” – David Cantwell,

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

No Fences captures Garth Brooks just after his initial success yet before superstardom.” DC It remains his “best-selling album to date” WK and was named Album of the Year in 1990 by the Academy of Country Music.

It “follows the same pattern as his debut, but it is a more assured and risky record. Brooks still performs neo-traditional country, such as the honky tonk hit Friends in Low Places,” STE, which was the ACM 1990 Single of the Year, “but now he twists it around with clever pop hooks.” STE

“Those pop/rock influences are most apparent on the ballads, which alternate between sensitive folk-rock and power ballad bombast. But what makes No Fences such a success is how seamlessly he blends the two seemingly opposing genres, and how he chooses a set of material that makes his genre-bending sound subtle and natural. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the songs are consistently entertaining, either.” STE

That attempt at hitting across genres can come across as “impersonations – often catchy and engaging ones, but impersonations nonetheless. Wild Horses is straight-up George Strait, while Two of a Kind and ‘Friends in Low Places’ are John Anderson and Hank Jr. respectively. The best moment, the Dan Fogleberg-like Unanswered Prayers, relays a message either highly spiritual or hugely rationalized. Regardless, it succeeds because its delivery is earnest, sweet, and humble – something Garth wouldn’t be for long.” DC

Also on the album is a cover of the Fleetwoods’ Mr. Blue, Victim of the Game (which was covered by Brooks’ future wife, Trisha Yearwood, on her 1991 debut, and The Thunder Rolls, which was CMA’s Video of the Year in 1991. WK

Notes: “This Ain’t Tennessee” was added to the album when it was released as part of the Limited Series box set.

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, August 4, 1990

Guns N’ Roses “Civil War” charted

Civil War

Guns N’ Roses

Writer(s): Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan (see lyrics here)

Released: June 21, 1991

First Charted: August 4, 1990

Peak: 4 AR, 11 UK, 45 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 67.6 video, 116.09 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

After Guns N’ Roses exploded with 1987’s Appetite for Destruction, it would be four years before they released a proper full-fledged album, and then it was a double whammy with Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. It wasn’t that they didn’t release any new music in the interim. 1988’s G N’ R Lies featured four new songs alongside the group’s 1986 EP Live Like a Suicide. A live cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” also became a radio airplay hit.

In 1990, GNR released the song “Civil War” on the charity album Nobody’s Child. The project, compiled by George Harrison, raised money for Romanian orphans through the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation. Fans eager for new material from Axl Rose and the boys sent the song to #4 on Billboard’s album rock chart. It was released worldwide as a single in 1993 and charted in several countries, most notably at #1 in Poland.

The protest song denounced war because it “feeds the rich while it buries the war.” It also referred to all war as “civil war.” At one point, Axl Rose declares, “What’s so civil about war, anyway?” Duff McKagan said the line, “Did you wear the black arm band / When they shot the man / Who said ‘Peace could last forever?” was inspired by attending a peace march for Martin Luther King Jr. with his mom when he was a kid. WK

Slash said the song grew out of an instrumental he wrote right before the band left for the Japanese leg of its Appetite for Destruction world tour. WK The speech at the beginning of the song (“What we have here is failure to communicate”) is from the movie Cool Hand Luke. The American Civil War song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” is also used when Axl Rose whistles it at the beginning and end. SF

This was the last single recorded with drummer Steven Adler, who left several months after the song was recorded and was replaced by Matt Sorum, formerly of the Cult, before “Civil War” saw release as a single. Adler played the song for the one and only time at Farm Aid WK on April 7, 1990. SF The song would become part of the Use Your Illusion collection in 1991, as did their cover of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”


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First posted 8/6/2022.