Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Garth Brooks, “Longneck Bottle”

“Longneck Bottle”

Garth Brooks

Written by Rick Carnes and Steve Wariner

Billboard

#1 (3 weeks)

December 20, 1997 – January 3, 1998

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

December 12, 1997

Garth Brooks gets his groove back.

The Road to No. 1

After teaming up with Trisha Yearwood on “In Another’s Eyes,” Garth repeated at No. 1 by teaming up with Steve Wariner, who co-wrote and sang backup vocals on this winning hit from his new studio album, Sevens.

The No. 1

After the stale sounds of Fresh Horses, “Long Neck Bottle” is breath of fresh air.

The arrangement is loose and greasy, and Brooks gives a vocal performance that is two parts George Strait and one part Roger Miller.  The harmony vocals from Wariner are perfectly intertwined, and the record doesn’t overstay its welcome, breezing by in just over two minutes.

Whereas Brooks had sounded burdened by his own success on his previous project, he’s clearly regained his confidence here, having a damn good time singing a damn good country song.  He made some old sounds completely new again, reviving that eighties new traditionalist sound that he’d helped knock off the radio with his massive records in the early nineties.

A phenomenal return to form from the genre’s biggest star.

The Road From No. 1

Reaching back to “That Ol’ Wind” and “In Another’s Eyes,” Brooks continued a run of six consecutive No. 1 singles with “Longneck Bottle.”  We will see him three more times in 1998, starting with the next two singles from Sevens.

“Longneck Bottle” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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3 Comments

  1. Always loved this song, and it’s definitely one of my favorite Sevens singles! Garth Brooks did indeed make Western Swing seem new and cool again with his lively, energetic performance of this winning cut. I especially love it when he growls out the line “Hey jukebox, don’t start playing that song again!” in the second chorus. I even love Steve Wariner’s signature scatting during the guitar solo. And what’s an old school country, upbeat Garth Brooks song without some excellent steel playing from Bruce Bouton? And despite him going back to an older sound with the same producer (Allen Reynolds), the track still manages to sound more fresh and modern than anything else he’d done up until then. Heck, it still does today. I simply love everything about this fun song, and I agree with Bobby that it’s one of his more underrated uptempo cuts.

    It’s also hard to believe it was only in late 1997/early 1998 that a western swinger could still top the charts for three weeks. And even more impressive, it was during a time when not only did people in the country and small towns listen to country, but so did plenty of folks in the suburbs and cities. I mean, this was even not long after his legendary concert in Central Park! That a song like “Longneck Bottle” could be that successful on the charts at that time just makes me miss those times all that much more. Sadly, anyone, even Garth himself, would be lucky enough to get a song like this into the top 30 these days. Hearing this song also makes me long for the days when you could imagine this song blaring out of the speakers in nearly every honky tonk and country themed steakhouse in the late 90’s. Heck, I was still able to play it on the jukebox at the Texas Roadhouse in the early 2010’s, but those days are sadly gone, since all that’s on their jukeboxes/playlists now is bro/metro bro country.

    Back in late 1997, I remember hearing and enjoying “Longneck Bottle” on countless evenings in my room when I’d have my new clock radio on. The thrill in getting to enjoy these latest country songs on the radio in my own bedroom was still fairly new to me at the time, and a couple others I enjoyed and heard for the first time on the new radio were Brooks & Dunn’s “Honky Tonk Truth,” and Patty Loveless’ “You Don’t Seem To Miss Me.” Again, it just really takes me back to an exciting time in my life of being in middle school, being twelve, having a little more freedom and independence than I ever had before, and feeling more like a young adult for the first time, while at the same time, still getting to be a kid, as well. Oh yeah, and it was also the holidays, and I had these pretty Christmas lights hanging in my bedroom windows that I still put up every year. :)

    This is also when I started realizing that a lot of these more traditional sounding songs somehow sounded even better during the colder months (At least for me). To this day, my Fall/Winter country playlists are heavier on traditional sounding country, with especially a lot of Western Swing, shuffles, and waltzes included. :)

    My dad actually got me Garth’s Sevens album for Christmas the following year in 1998, which at the time I loved, since it also included my then latest favorite song of his, “You Move Me.” My step dad, on the other hand, loved it because it included “Longneck Bottle” which was always a favorite of his, as well. :) Even when I’d order root beer at Cracker Barrel, which they always serve in the bottle, he’d sometimes sing the line to me “Longneck Bottle, let go of my hand!” lol.

    I actually have a vintage Crook & Chase Countdown show from December 20, 1997, featuring Steve Wariner as the “Front and Center” special guest. Before playing “Longneck Bottle,” Wariner was telling stories about events that occurred before and after the song’s success, with him mentioning that Garth offered to give the song back to Steve since the album and single release was on hold and kept getting pushed farther back. Wariner wisely told him to keep it, though, lol. My favorite part is when he talked about him and Garth rehearsing it at the soundcheck at least ten times or more before performing it live on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, since Garth loved the song so much and couldn’t get enough of singing it. During Steve’s guitar solo and scatting part, Garth would always yell something funny in Steve’s ear, and one time he walked up to him and told him “Pick it, Chicken Man!” which made him lose concentration and he burst out laughing instead, lol.

    Speaking of Steve, this is also the beginning of his impressive comeback story in the late 90’s.

    Btw, I STILL never figured out just what the heck Garth is saying at the very end of the song before he lets out that little high pitched giggle, lol. At the same time, I’m okay not knowing, because in a way, I like it when some things remain a mystery for so long. :)

  2. Brooks’ ability to hold the country centre with his music was always impressive, especially after often pushing the envelope sonically. A person could create either a wildly desperate collection of Garth Brooks musical sounds and vocal stylings or a surprisingly hard-core collection of traditional country and western songs.

    This fun song firmly falls in the latter category of straight-up country jams.

    “Sevens” as an album was a return to form for Brooks. It is one of my favourite albums of his.

    I remember being in university yet when the album was released, and I was still without a car.

    Thinking back, I had to take a fairly lengthy walk north on Selling Avenue in St.Paul from the Hamline University campus to get to a Best Buy in Roseville, a St. Paul suburb to purchase the album. I had my heart set on getting a limited “First Edition” copy of the CD.

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