After 20 years, the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it life of Chris Gaines is still one of the strangest blips in modern pop culture. If you never got the chance to experience it firsthand: In 1999, country music powerhouse Garth Brooks debuted a character by the name of Chris Gaines, a very fictional, brooding, gloriously soul-patched Australian pop star with more than a few songs on his heart and a starring role in a forthcoming film called The Lamb. Fate can be cruel, however, and the Brooks-led film never made it beyond development. There are still deeply buried remnants of Brooks’ super method acting if you dig deep enough, including a Chris Gaines musical guest spot on the episode of Saturday Night Live that Brooks hosted in an attempt to drum up early interest.
But the most fascinating product of this experiment was a very heartfelt, genuinely gorgeous song called “Lost In You,” which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. And though it garnered a decent amount of popularity at the time, it ultimately got lost (ha) in the lasting confusion of the overall stunt, which really isn’t fair. Brooks isn’t too keen on talking about those days for obvious reasons, and you can’t stream the original song on any popular music platforms or even find it on YouTube.
Luckily, there are some of us who still remember the beauty of Gaines-slash-Brooks’ passionate falsetto and earnest lyrics, including Childish Gambino, who covered “Lost In You” on Triple J’s radio show, Like a Version. Gambino’s stripped down version retains the warmth of the original, and when you remove the tune from the drama that surrounds it, you’re left with a perfectly respectful pop effort from Brooks with an unfair backstory. Check out Gambino’s amazing cover below.