Arriving on the scene in 1989 with a great song sense and a strong background in marketing, Garth Brooks emerged as the poster boy for the nineties country boom, and along the way, became the biggest record-seller in America since the Beatles.
Brooks was born and raised in Oklahoma, the son of Capitol country recording artist Colleen Carroll. He grew up with music around the house, and learned to play the guitar and the banjo. His athletic prowess earned him a track scholarship at Oklahoma State University, but his interest soon turned to music. He began performing around Stillwater, becoming a major draw on the local talent circuit.
Hearing George Strait for the first time encouraged him to focus on country music, and after a relatively brief time in Nashville, he was signed by his mother’s former label. He started out hot, scoring four top ten hits from his debut, self-titled album, including the signature hits, “The Dance” and “If Tomorrow Never Comes”, which both went #1. The follow-up, No Fences, was released as country music sales were reaching new heights, and on the strength of classics like “Friends in Low Places” and “The Thunder Rolls”, Brooks was soon the biggest-selling artist of any genre, with his albums No Fences and Ropin’ the Wind shattering long-held records for the biggest selling country albums of all time.
Though Brooks later saw his sales eclipsed by artists like Shania Twain, Tim McGraw, and the Dixie Chicks, he is rightly heralded for putting country music on even commercial footing with pop and rock music. He continued to sell well throughout the nineties, scoring regular radio hits and becoming the genre’s most popular touring act, which helped him win Entertainer of the Year six times from the Academy of Country Music and four times from the Country Music Association.
Brooks retired from performing in 2001, following the release of Scarecrow, but through a partnership with Wal-Mart, he continued to release repackaging of his older material and occasional collections of rarities and cover songs. One of these collections, Ultimate Hits, included the new single, “More than a Memory”, which made history in 2007 when it became the first country song to enter the singles chart at #1.
Recently, Brooks has made plans to release new music and to launch his first major tour in more than a decade. He will return to the road as the third biggest album-seller in U.S. history, behind only the Beatles and Elvis Presley. Now husband to fellow recording artist Trisha Yearwood and proud member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Garth Brooks seems destined to rise further up this list as he begins to perform and record again.
- If Tomorrow Never Comes, 1989
- The Dance, 1990
- Friends in Low Places, 1990
- Unanswered Prayers, 1990
- The Thunder Rolls, 1991
- The River, 1992
- That Summer, 1993
- To Make You Feel My Love, 1998
- No Fences, 1990
- Ropin’ the Wind, 1991
- The Chase, 1992
- In Pieces, 1993
- Sevens, 1997
- Double Live, 1998
- Scarecrow, 2001
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