Garth Brooks at Fan Fair
in Nashville Tennessee
It is difficult to fit all of Garth Brooks’
record-breaking achievements into a short
bio space. When he retired in 2000 he had
become the best-selling solo artist in the
history of recording. He sold more than 1.8
million tickets for his 1996 tour, prompting
the trade magazine Amusement Business
to rank it as the top country music tour of all
time. Brooks has over 70 hit singles and
15 charted albums to his credit and over
115 million albums sold in the United
States alone. This remarkable career did
not span a decade.
Garth Troyal Brooks was born on Feb. 7, 1962, in Tulsa, OK, and raised in Yukon, OK just outside of Oklahoma City.
Drawn to country music by his admiration for George Strait, Brooks became a popular regional performer during his college
years. Signing to Capitol in 1988 he charted with his first single “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)” and his second
single “If Tomorrow Never Comes," went to #1. Then, in late 1990, came his raucous single,” Friends In Low Places”, and his
second album, No Fences. At this point his career shifted from successful to meteoric. No Fences became Brooks' first No. 1
album and went on to sell more than 16 million copies. Brooks began appearing on the cover of major magazines, among
them Rolling Stone, Forbes, Time, Entertainment Weekly and The Saturday Evening Post. He became a frequent guest on TV
shows and did a series of 8 feature specials for NBC starting in 1992.
While Brooks' musical style placed him squarely within the boundaries of country music, he was strongly influenced by the
1970s’ singer-songwriter movement, especially the works of James Taylor (whom he idolized and named his first child after). In
his highly successful live shows, Brooks used a wireless headset microphone to free himself to run about the stage, adding
energy and theatrics more generally associated with arena rock.
Ropin' the Wind, Brooks' third album, released in September 1991, was the first ever to debut at No. 1 on both the Billboard
Top 200 Album Chart and the Billboard Country Album Chart simultaneously. The Chase (1992) and In Pieces (1993) were
the second and third albums to do so. Sevens (1997) and Double Live (1998) also accomplished this.
Over the course of his career, Brooks has received virtually every accolade the recording industry can bestow on an artist. In
addition to his Grammys, American Music Awards, Country Music Association awards, Academy of Country Music awards and
People's Choice trophies, he was named artist of the '90s at the 1997 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards and artist of the
decade by both the American Music Awards in 2000 and the Academy of Country Music in 1999.
On Oct. 26, 2000 Brooks officially announced his retirement from recording and performing: he had been talking of retirement
since 1992. The announcement coincided with the breakup of his first marriage and the commercial ‘failure’ of the artistically
risky Life of Chris Gaines project. (It sold a mere 2 million.) In retirement he continues to sell huge volumes of records and
admits he greatly misses touring, causing fans to anticipate a comeback.  
                     TEXT BY JEFF PITCHER
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GARTH BROOKS is certified by the Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA) as the #1 selling solo artist in U.S. history and has sold
in excess of 128 million albums. Brooks is the only solo artist in RIAA history to have
six albums top the 10 million mark. His most recent release The Ultimate Hits has been
certified 5x platinum.
In 2007 Brooks became the first artist to put out a simultaneous edition of his latest
collection for a charitable cause. The “pink edition” of The Ultimate Hits was and is
available only at the Susan G Komen website. His body of work – including the
groundbreaking No Fences, Ropin’ The Wind, The Hits, and Double Live – propelled
country music as a genre to the front pages of newspapers worldwide and the covers of
magazines, to the point where Forbes declared on its cover, “Country Conquers Rock”
and featured Brooks in a major music feature. According to the RIAA, Brooks is the
topselling solo artist of the 20th century.
The key to his record-setting success lies within the personality and talent of Garth
Brooks. It has been said that through the 1990s, his only real competition was himself.
Brooks brought daring individualism and a love of music to the table. His wide range
encompasses a variety of styles which include working class blues, honky tonk, bluegrass
and arena rock. Brooks’ easy-going, approachable charisma was matched only by his
fearless willingness to take chances and step outside the lines. He has had an
unprecedented run so far and opened the doors for many more country artists to follow.
Brooks has received every accolade the recording industry can bestow on an artist,
including: 2 Grammys, 17 American Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association
Awards, 18 Academy of Country Music Awards, 5 World Music Awards, 12 People’s
Choice Awards and 36 Billboard Music Awards. He was named Artist of the ’90s at the
1997 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, received the Artist Achievement Award at the
1997 Billboard Music Awards, was named “Artist of the Decade” at the American Music
Awards in 2000 and the Academy of Country Music Awards in 1999.
In the midst of one of the most successful careers in music history, Brooks retired in
2001, delivered his last record for Capitol Records and moved back to Oklahoma to raise
his children. While in retirement when called upon by events greater than his own
selfinterest,
he returned to the stage. The latest of these was when President Obama himself
requested that Brooks headline his Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. He
performed as President Obama, his wife Michelle, their girls, Joe and Jill Biden and a
crowd of over 300,000 lined the mall from the Lincoln Memorial all the way to
the Washington Monument. It was a moment in history when all did the “wave” to
Brooks’ performance of “Shout” while the President sang along. He was called upon
once again to perform for President Obama’s very first late night television appearance
on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. When the Governor of California, Arnold
Schwarzenegger, asked for Brooks’ help, he responded by performing five concerts in
two days where proceeds from 83,000 tickets sold were donated to efforts to prevent fire
catastrophes from happening again. Portions of the live concerts were shown as a TV
special titled, Garth Brooks: Live in L.A. where viewers donated to the organization Fire
Intervention Relief Effort (FIRE).
On October 15, 2009 Brooks announced that he was out of retirement and soon entered
a five year relationship with Las Vegas resort developer, Steve Wynn. “I am naturally
nervous, but it feels good to be out from under the low ceiling of ‘retirement’ I put on
myself.”
Garth Brooks 2010 Nashville
UNANSWERED PRAYERS
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