Garth Brooks on ‘Friends in Low Places’ Writer Dewayne Blackwell: He ‘Changed My Life’
The best weekend of Garth Brooks' life ended on a very, very sad note. Hours after the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony in Washington D.C., a man whose song was instrumental in getting him there died.
Dewayne Blackwell wrote many hit songs over many decades, including "Mr. Blue" for the Fleetwoods in 1959, and "I'm Gonna Hire a Wino to Decorate Our Home" by David Frizzell in 1982. He also co-wrote "Friends in Low Places" with Earl Bud Lee. This song would become Brooks' first single from his No Fences album and remain his most famous song 30 years later.
Talking to Billboard, Brooks remembered Blackwell as a craftsman who would not settle, even if that meant it took years to get a song just right. The veteran songwriter changed the newcomer's life nearly 35 years ago, and Brooks never forgot how committed the hitmaker was to searching for organic rhymes.
On his self-titled debut album, Brooks would record two songs penned by Blackwell: "Mr. Blue" and "Nobody Gets Off in This Town."
"Dewayne Blackwell grew up in a town like 'Nobody Gets Off in This Town,' and what he did was brought real-life America forward in music," Brooks tells the magazine. "Like some people did it in film, he did it in lyrics and music. Dewayne was just a real life portrayer of the arts, but he did it with lyrics instead of with paint."
Blackwell died on Sunday (May 23), but the news wasn't reported until Wednesday (May 26). Thus, it wasn't mentioned during the singer's most recent Inside Studio G — an episode that focused on the Kennedy Center Honors.