Written by Pat Alger, Garth Brooks, and Sandy Mahl
#1 (1 week)
July 3, 1993
Radio & Records
#1 (2 weeks)
June 18 – June 25, 1993
Garth Brooks tops the chart with an adolescent fantasy.
The Road to No. 1
The Chase produced the No. 1 hits “Somewhere Other Than the Night” and “Learning to Live Again” in advance of “That Summer,” the fourth and final single from the album.
The No. 1
The Chase was a strange project for Garth Brooks at the time. It was more reflective and somber than his previous albums, and it took until the fourth single, “That Summer,” for the album to produce a hit that was more in line with his earlier work.
The storyline is improbable, but that may be why “That Summer” works so well. It’s an adolescent fantasy of first love, where the teenage hired hand is seduced by the widowed farmer “hellbent to make it on her own.” True to form, Garth creates a female character that is defined by more than just her lustful desires:
She came to me one evening
Hot cup of coffee and a smile
In a dress that I was certain
She hadn’t worn in quite a while
There was a difference in her laughter
There was a softness in her eyes
And on the air there was a hunger
Even a boy could recognize
He follows this with the observation that “I watched her hands of leather turn to velvet in a touch,” which is a sudden realization that she’d been working the land herself, perhaps even alongside her husband when he was still around. This is not the stuff of Letters to Penthouse. The woman has an identity and storyline completely separate from this interaction, and we’re given glimpses of it through well-crafted songwriting. She’s grounded in reality, even if the storyline is not.
It’s hard to believe that this isn’t even the best “virginity lost on a summer farm” No. 1 single that we’ll cover this decade.
The Road From No. 1
1993 was a great chart year for Garth, with three No. 1 singles from The Chase being followed by two No. 1 singles from his fifth album before the year was out.
“That Summer” gets an A.
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