Garth Brooks is the best-selling country artist not only of his generation, but of all time — but that wasn't always the case. An old clip that has resurfaced online shows a young, pre-fame Brooks performing a George Strait cover in an early TV appearance, and it's a remarkable country time capsule.

The YouTube clip below dates to 1986, when Brooks was still living in his native Oklahoma and fronting a band called Santa Fe.

That's the same year that Strait released "Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her," which his longtime collaborator, songwriter Dean Dillon, wrote and released on an album of his own in 1980.

Dillon's version peaked at No. 25 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, but Strait took the song all the way to No. 1 in 1986. Brooks covers it in a note-perfect version in the clip below during an appearance on AM Oklahoma, leaning into a hardcore traditional country sound that pre-dates his signature blend of country and rock elements.

Brooks didn't move to Nashville full-time until 1987, and his 1989 self-titled debut album was still three years away at the time of this performance. His imaging definitely lacks the polish that a major label would later give him.

He sports a mustache and a ball cap in the video below, but the unmistakable voice that would become a country radio signature is clearly evident as Brooks delivers the Strait hit.

Brooks was mostly interested in rock music growing up, but he credits hearing Strait's early work as the turning point that steered him toward country. He would go on to work with Strait himself, performing with the country icon during the 2013 ACM Awards as part of a tribute to the late Dick Clark.

Ironically, Strait wound up passing on a song that became one of Brooks' biggest hits. Brooks recorded the demo for "Friends in Low Places" while he was still singing demos in Nashville, and he did his best Strait imitation, since songwriters Earl Bud Lee and Dewayne Blackwell planned to pitch it to Strait.

The country icon passed on the demo, leaving it open for Brooks himself to cut in his own voice and release as the lead single from his 1990 sophomore album, No Fences.

Sterling Whitaker is a Senior Writer and Senior Editor for Taste of Country. He focuses on celebrity real estate, as well as coverage of Yellowstone and related shows like 1883 and 1923. He's interviewed cast members including Cole Hauser, Kelly Reilly, Sam Elliott and Harrison Ford, and Whitaker is also known for his in-depth interviews with country legends including Don Henley, Rodney Crowell, Trace Adkins, Ronnie Milsap, Ricky Skaggs and more.

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