Brooks & Dunn are one of the most successful country music duos of all time, but members Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn initially weren't too sure about teaming up. During an episode of I Miss…90s Country Radio with Nick Hoffman on Apple Music Country, Brooks and Dunn reflected on being paired up by executive Tim DuBois, who initially suggested that the two men write together.
"I think we were both pretty skeptical of the idea," Brooks admitted. "We were both grown men, had kind of been around the Nashville block more than once." Both Brooks and Dunn were solo recording artist and charted two solo singles each in the '80s, and Brooks released an album in 1989. He continued, "We both had kind of record deals that didn't pan out to be much and so when he suggested we write some songs together, we both know enough about how things go around that you got nothing to lose. So we said, 'Okay.' And we screwed up that week and wrote what became our first two number one songs. Next thing we know we're like 'This didn't make any sense at all, just never should have worked.' A duo, we still don't sing harmonies very good."
Dunn joked that he and Brooks "were kind of tricked by Tim DuBois." "I don't know if he even knew what he was up to when he introduced us," he recalled. "He probably did, but he made it seem very innocent. He played some, a few of Kix's songs for me, and I liked them. And then the next thing we know, he's asking us to write a few songs together."
Two of those songs were "Brand New Man" and "My Next Broken Heart," the duo's first two singles. "Brand New Man" became the title of their debut album, which was released in 1991 and is certified sextuple-platinum for shipments of six million copies. "Certainly, a record like Brand New Man working the way it did gave us a little confidence about what we were doing," Brooks reflected of the album. "We started looking around in a different way, like, 'Okay, we actually got a tiger by the tail here now, instead of just trying to find a tiger.'"
Just under 20 years later, the pair is proud that their music is what's best remembered. "From day one, if there's one thing you want to, years from now, look back and say, and we always said it was that music would be timeless," Dunn said. "The music would define it. And that's all you can ask for because you know you're going to get older, you're going to look older, you're going to do whatever. But if that music can hang around and do its job, then you made your mark."