Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Garth Brooks, “Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up)”

“Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up)”

Billy Ray Cyrus

Written by Kent Blazy, Garth Brooks, and Kim Williams


#1 (2 weeks)

September 18 , 1993

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

September 17, 1993

Garth gets loud.

The Road to No. 1 

The Chase was a successful album by any objective measure, producing three No. 1 hits and selling millions of copies.  But commercially, it was a few steps down from its predecessors, No Fences and Ropin’ the Wind.   So with In Pieces, Garth shook off the seriousness of The Chase and put out a song loud enough to be heard in the back row of a sold out arena.

The No. 1

The protagonist of “Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up” is the least interesting character to pop up in a Garth Brooks single to date.  She has more in common with the cardboard cutout party girls that Brooks & Dunn were starting to sing about around this time.

I’m not big on putting the decline of a genre on the shoulders of one artist, especially when that artist did more to evangelize on behalf of country music than any man before or since.  But this turning point in Garth’s catalog is perfectly in line with what started to happen as 1993 progressed.   Novelty songs are on the rise, and the young audience that had embraced country music is now being pandered to.

“Ain’t Goin’ Down” is a fun record.  Fun as hell, really.  Garth’s rapid fire delivery is egged on by the most rock and roll arrangement to hit the top of the charts in the nineties so far.  And I have always loved this line:  “The stalls are clean, the horse is fed, they say she’s grounded ’til she’s dead.”

But this wild child isn’t a real person.  She’s a caricature that exists in service of a song about how fun it is to party all night. The point of “Ain’t Goin’ Down” is to sing along with it with a beer in your hand.

Which is fine. Not every song has to have a deeper meaning.  But we’re nearing the point in the nineties where the balance gets thrown off and this is a harbinger of what’s coming.

The Road From No. 1

Garth’s worst No. 1 single yet is up next and I’m so annoyed that I have to write about it.  Stay tuned.

“Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up)” gets a B.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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Next: Wynonna, “Only Love”


  1. Yep. If it wasn’t obvious enough yet that things were getting louder and more aggressive sonically and lighter lyrically in 1993, then this little ditty right here was certainly proof enough. While past rock influenced efforts earlier in the decade at least still had a lot of heart and substance (including some of Garth’s earlier singles), this one just feels loud and in your face for the sake of being loud and in your face. And though I hate to say it, it is lyrically not too far removed from bro-country, which is one reason I believe it’s remained one of his most popular songs up to this day. It’s got the girl riding in the pickup, the partying, the typical rural setting with not much detail or purpose, the obligatory name dropping of George Strait, etc. Of course, as Kevin mentions, there’s still at least some clever enough writing here than most bro-country songs combined. To this day, I still have a hard time believing this actually came out as early as 1993, as it feels more like the arrival of the typical souped up mid 90’s country ditty that’s heavy on the catchy beats and wordplay and not much else.

    With all that being said, Kevin is also right that it’s fun as hell. While it’s never been one of my favorites from Garth, I’ve still been known to jam out to this when I’m in the right mood for it. Heck, even my step dad would crank it up every now and then when it came on the radio in the car. I remember it being on the radio one morning in the car while he was driving me to school, and he cranked it up and said “Now this is good for waking you up!” lol.

    I’m also right there with you on the next In Pieces single, and I’m also not looking forward it. In Pieces is also my least favorite of Garth’s 90’s albums, with the only single I truly like being “Callin’ Baton Rouge,” and the only non single I really like being “The Cowboy Song.”

  2. The breathless insanity of the Kim Williams lyrics are stellar. I have always loved this song’s raunchy ability to capture the recurring excitement of weekends for teenage romance. It also works as a working person’s anthem as it celebrates the cyclical relationship between work and play, responsibility and freedom.

    This song plays so well live and usually is a frenzied energetic high point of his shows.

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