"He was cleaning churches and selling boots. And the next thing you know, he's Garth Brooks."

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
May 25, 2021

Garth Brooks. Like Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and several other country music icons, the name just rolls off your tongue and means something. Could you imagine the Okie native going by any other moniker? Gary or Grant Brooks doesn't exactly have the same ring to it, if you ask us.

But if record label executives had their way, they might have very well convinced Garth to change the name to a more common one, since they thought Garth was too far out there — and would hold him back from getting a record deal. (His full name, by the way, is Troyal Garth Brooks.)

As we learned in a recent episode of the "Bored and Curious" podcast by Mary Katz with one of Brooks' longtime songwriting partners, Kent Blazy, record execs thought making it with a name like Garth was a long shot. In discussing the origins of the first song Blazy and Brooks wrote together, "If Tomorrow Never Comes," Blazy shares the backstory of shopping it around: "And so we wrote this song, and we thought it was a really great song. Uh, Garth did a little guitar vocal in my studio that day, and we pitched it around town for, I don't know, maybe a year and nobody was interested in it and nobody was interested in him. They said, 'he'll never get a record deal with a name like 'Garth,'" Blazy recalls. Needless to say, these naysayers had things very wrong about Mr. Garth Brooks.

"So one night he got to play at [Nashville music venue] the Bluebird [café] and sing one song because another artist didn't show up. And somebody from Capitol Records who had passed on Garth for the third time that week heard him sing 'If Tomorrow Never Comes' and said, 'Hey, why don't you come back in? Maybe we missed something,'" Blazy continued. "So he went back in to Capitol; got a record deal. And, 'If Tomorrow Never Comes' was his second single and his first number one record. So, from when we wrote it, he was cleaning churches and selling boots. And the next thing you know, he's Garth Brooks." Listen to the full episode below or fast-forward to the 20:44 mark to hear the dialogue above. We definitely have a whole new appreciation for the name Garth Brooks now.

WATCH: Garth Brooks' "Beaches of Cheyenne" Has Quite the Backstory

Loved listening to Blazy on the podcast? His latest album, Authentic, is out now, wherever music is sold and streams. This fall, he's being inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and as he mentions in the episode, his good friend Garth himself revealed that news to him. Garth and Blazy — now that's a band name if we ever heard one.