15 Years Ago: Garth Brooks’ ‘More Than a Memory’ Debuts at No. 1
On Sept. 15, 2007, Garth Brooks made history with his song "More Than a Memory." Fourteen years ago today, the song became the first tune ever to enter Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart at No. 1.
Co-written by Lee Brice, Billy Montana and Kyle Jacobs, the moody, subdued "More Than a Memory" was Brooks' first No. 1 hit since 1998's "To Make You Feel My Love." It appears on the compilation The Ultimate Hits.
"More Than a Memory" features a narrator realizing that he can't forget a past romantic fling, no matter how hard he tries: "When you're finding things to do not to fall asleep / 'Cause you know she'll be there in your dreams / That's when she's / More than a memory." Even burning her letters and getting rid of photos "ain't helping me at all," the song adds.
For Brice, "More Than a Memory" came from a very personal place: "I woke up one night thinking about the love of my life, an old flame, even though we hadn't been together in eight or 10 years," he tells The Boot -- so, he decided to write her a letter.
"I got halfway down the letter, and I was like, 'What are you doing? You do this all the time -- you never send her anything. Just go back to bed. She's just a memory,'" Brice continues. "Then I thought, 'Well, I'm up at 3:30 in the morning, physically, tangibly doing something, writing a letter. She's still a tangible, physical part of my life, so she must be more than a memory.'"
From there, Brice brought his lyrical ideas to Jacobs, who, along with Montana, helped flesh out the rest of the song.
CMT notes that "More Than a Memory" debuted at No. 1 on the R&R Country chart -- also a record -- 10 days prior to its Billboard debut. The chart-topper earned 36.3 million radio impressions, which eclipsed the No. 2 song, Rodney Atkins’ “These Are My People,” by more than 3 million impressions.
For Brooks, the big debut likely had to do with the fact that "More Than a Memory" was one of his most high-profile gestures since deciding to come out of retirement in 2005. In fact, "More Than a Memory" was the first song released under a new distribution and promotion deal that his Pearl Records had inked with Big Machine. The song remains his last country No. 1 to date.
"More Than a Memory" has also provided some indelible moments for Brice -- including the time he decided to perform the just-written song during his first-ever Grand Ole Opry appearance. "Nobody had ever heard it. I played an acoustic version of "More Than a Memory," and when I got to the first chorus -- the first time anybody heard it -- the audience stood up and clapped for me in the middle of the song," he shares. "That is a moment I'll never forget."
"After Garth released it and it debuted at No. 1, it just exploded, and everybody who came to my shows knew it," Brice adds. "They would sing every word, the lighters would come out -- it was really cool."
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