It's no secret that songs sometimes have backstories that generally escape people on the first few listens. Anyone who listened to Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" were kind of freaked out to learn that the song was actually about Uncle Joey from Full House, or that "Chandelier" is about struggling with addiction after Sia's boyfriend was struck by a car in 1997, or that any Beatles song is them trying to convince you they don't suck as a band.
Garth Brooks' classic hit "The Dance" also has a deeper meaning.
What is the meaning behind Garth Brooks' "The Dance"?
Country music seems to get a bad rap a lot of times. Folks either seem to love it or hate it. If you tell someone you're into the genre, they immediately either start rattling off some of their own favorite singers and songs, or start going on a tirade containing tons of different country music tropes. They'll start talking about pick-up trucks, cheating girlfriends, dogs, and red Solo cups.
But just like any genre of music, there are some absolutely fantastic country artists and tracks that have changed the musical landscape as we know it. "The Dance" by Garth Brooks is a track that gets a lot of love and was pretty much hailed as an instant classic when it debuted.
While many people believe that the song is about love, or lamenting the loss of a great romance, it's actually got a different meaning according to Garth Brooks.
"To a lot of people, I guess 'The Dance' is a love gone bad song," Garth said according to Wide Open Country. "Which, you know, that it is. But to me it's always been a song about life. Or maybe the loss of those people that have given the ultimate sacrifice for a dream that they believed in, like the John F. Kennedy's or the Martin Luther King's. John Wayne's or the Keith Whitley's. And if they could come back, I think they would say to us what the lyrics of 'The Dance' say."
So according to Garth, the song is about people who weren't afraid to face or welcome death in order to live the lives they believed they needed to live no matter the consequences.
The great thing about music, however, is that it is oftentimes interpretive. A song can really mean anything to you, and in the case of a song as popular as "The Dance," there are probably tons of people with different ideas as to what it's about.