Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Garth Brooks, “She’s Gonna Make It”

“She’s Gonna Make It”

Garth Brooks

Written by Kent Blazy, Garth Brooks, and Kim Williams

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

February 27, 1998

After getting his groove back, Garth gets his creep on.

The Road to No. 1

1998 is the last year of the decade that Garth Brooks goes to No. 1 on the country singles chart.  Counting “In Another’s Eyes,” this is the third No. 1 single from Sevens, and his first solo effort from the album to top the chart.

The No. 1

Who else but Garth Brooks would write a song about how his ex-wife is more resilient than he is following the dissolution of their marriage?

And who else but Garth Brooks would think it was endearing that he’s stalking her on her way to work?

Gorgeous vocal. Beautiful arrangement.  But that first verse is creepy as hell.

The Road From No. 1

Two more No. 1 singles are on deck in 1998, the next being the final chart-topper from Sevens.

“She’s Gonna Make It” gets a careful of your surroundings.  You’re in danger, girl.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Anita Cochran with Steve Wariner, “What if I Said” |

Next: George Strait, “Round About Way”




  1. This song is an excellent example of Book’s ability to capture the conflict and craziness that comes with being in – and out – of relationships. The narrator is tangled mess of regret and foolish pride. He is shocked his partner is confidently moving on after he was the one who wanted out of the relationship.

    He is sinking. I have always read the line about following his ex to work as proof of that. His having the time to stalk her morning routine is an implicit indication that he is off the rails and unable to get himself to work, if he even has a job to go to anymore.

    His life has fallen apart; he is at the foot of a mountain, dark clouds always loom on his horizon, he is sinking at sea, he admits to being driven insane by all of this.

    As I write this, I am reminded of John Conlee’s “Miss Emily’s Picture.” Brooks’ narrator is not dealing well at all with the consequences of his decision and his situation. He knows he cannot make it without her. Probably anyone around him can see that as well.

    The kick-to-the-head is that his partner would take him back if he would only ask. She isn’t so much over him as she is just more pragmatic at dealing with the pain, whereas this guy sounds like he couldn’t deal himself a straight game of solitaire in his newly found freedom.

    This is a great performance and production about remorse and regret. I think of it as being in the same category of “What She’s Doing now,” Cold Shoulder” and “Tacoma.”

  2. Sevens produced some of my all time favorite Garth singles, particularly with “Longneck Bottle,” “You Move Me,” and this one.

    Garth’s more stripped down, folk leaning ballads are some of his best, imo, and for me, this one has a very similar appeal sonically to “She’s Every Woman.” And despite the presence of some beautiful fiddle and steel guitar playing, there’s also a sophisticated pop feel to it that makes it sound great in a more urban setting, as well. I actually often picture myself in the city whenever I hear this one, particularly in a high rise building. Other times, I picture a more cozy setting in a house close to the fireplace during a cold Fall/Winter night. The warm, laid back production is just everything here, and it just sounded so good on the radio during the Winter in early 1998! It still sounds great today, and has aged extremely well.

    Lyrically, I agree very much with Peter’s assessment, though I can see how people get creepy stalker vibes from the guy following his ex-wife to work. As Peter says though, I’ve always taken it as one of the signs of the guy completely falling apart and “going off the rails” as he puts it. For me, the line after that one where he sings “She seemed to sail right through those dark clouds forming” always had me picture his former wife going up the elevator in a high rise building (where I always pictured her working), which kind of lends to the line in the chorus about her successfully climbing the hill, and him being stuck at the foot of the mountain, which is him being down below, helplessly watching her go through life after the breakup much better than he ever thought she would. I’ve always liked the “twist” in the second verse, as well, that she would actually take him back if it weren’t for his foolish, stubborn pride keeping him from asking her.

    The first time I heard “She’s Gonna Make It” was also the first time I heard it on Chris Charles’ Weekly Country Countdown show on a Saturday night in early 1998 while I was in bed. I remember being amazed to be hearing a new one from Garth so soon, since “Longneck Bottle” still seemed so new. It was already well into the countdown, and it just sounded great coming out of my clock radio at night. The next few Saturday nights I heard it (it zoomed VERY quickly up the charts), I was always amused by the part with the guy being “at the foot of the mountain” and her being “over that hill.” I was actually very lucky to find two Weekly Country Countdown shows from this time. One of them has “She’s Gonna Make It” stuck at number three for the second week behind Lee Ann Womack’s “You’ve Got To Talk To Me,” and Anita and Steve’s “What If I Said” at number one. On this show, the top 3 songs were always referred to as “The Winners Circle,” and before this song started, Chris Charles’ talks about his then wife, Sandy, doing a press conference and saying “Sandy’s husband, Garth, doesn’t move at all on this week’s countdown!” On the next countdown I have, which is the very next one that aired, Garth is at number one. Getting listen to these two radio shows is such a cool and exciting trip down memory lane for me, since I listened to Chris Charles’ show just about every week during those times. Even the late 90’s commercials are so neat to hear! :)

    Additionally, “She’s Gonna Make It” has always reminded me of the 7th period sewing class I was in during the 6th grade in the winter of early 1998 and the teacher we had for that class, Mrs. Bechberger. It was one of my favorites of the “Teen Living” series of classes which included, Art, Sewing, Cooking, and Tech-Ed. The sewing class was a lot of fun, especially getting to go to the Jo-Ann store to pick out the fabric I needed for the assignment she gave us, which was to make a pair of shorts for ourselves. I actually still have the pair I made in my dresser drawer. :) To this day, this song still takes me back that class.

    And yes, this song is yet another one that always reminds me of my parents and I going to Fair Oaks Mall regularly in early 1998, as well. Since Fair Oaks has a more classy, upscale feel to it, and it’s right smack in the middle of the very urban area of Fairfax, VA, I guess that’s just one more reason why I’ve always pictured myself in an urban area whenever I hear this song. I’ve always thought of this song, too, when I see some of the cool tall buildings that surround the mall, and the unique and enormous sculptures featured throughout inside of it. Even in more recent years when going to Fair Oaks, I loved hearing it come on my ipod whenever I was walking around the mall, which never failed to take me back to those great times. :)

    Unfortunately, “She’s Gonna Make It” seems like another one of Garth’s more underrated mid-late 90’s songs today, especially when compared to his songs from earlier in the decade, which continued to get endless recurrent airplay. I myself would’ve have minded hearing this one more often instead of “Friends In Low Places” or “Ain’t Goin’ Down” for the zillionth time.

    Btw, the last line in the review including grade definitely made laugh!

    • Oops, the last sentence in my last paragraph should read “would NOT have minded…”

      Btw, I’ve always loved this pic of Garth in that nice winter coat! It reminds me of getting the Sevens album for Christmas in 1998. :)

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