Garth Brooks

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This article is about the performer. For his eponymous album, see Garth Brooks (album).
Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks on World Tour (crop).png
Brooks performing in February 2015
Born Troyal Garth Brooks
(1962-02-07) February 7, 1962 (age 54)
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Spouse(s)
Children

3

Musical career
Genres Country pop[1]
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
Years active
  • 1984–2001
  • 2005–present
Labels
Associated acts
Website garthbrooks.com

Troyal Garth Brooks (born February 7, 1962), is an American country pop singer and songwriter.[1] His integration of pop and rock and roll elements into the country genre through multi-platinum recordings and record-breaking live performances earned him immense worldwide popularity. This progressive approach has allowed Brooks to dominate the country single and album charts, while also crossing over into the mainstream pop arena.[2]

According to the RIAA, he is the best-selling solo albums artist in the United States with 136 million domestic units sold, ahead of Elvis Presley, and is second only to The Beatles in total album sales overall.[3] He is also one of the world's best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 160 million records.[4]

Brooks is now the only artist to have released seven albums that achieved diamond (As of September 23, 2016) status in the United States, those being: Garth Brooks (10× platinum), No Fences (17× platinum), Ropin' the Wind (14× platinum), The Hits (10× platinum), Sevens (10× platinum) and Double Live (21× platinum).[5] Since 1989, Brooks has released 20 records in all, which include: 10 studio albums, 1 live album, 3 compilation albums, 3 Christmas albums and 3 box sets, along with 77 singles. He won several awards in his career, including 2 Grammy Awards, 17 American Music Awards (including the "Artist of the '90s") and the RIAA Award for best-selling solo albums artist of the century in the United States.

Troubled by conflicts between career and family, Brooks retired from recording and performing from 2001 until 2009.[2] During this time, he sold millions of albums through an exclusive distribution deal with Walmart and sporadically released new singles.[6][7] In 2005, Brooks started a partial comeback, giving select performances and releasing two compilation albums.

In 2009, he began Garth at Wynn, a periodic weekend residency show at Las Vegas' Encore Theatre from December 2009 to January 2014. Following the conclusion of the residency, Brooks announced his signing with Sony Music Nashville in July 2014.[8] In September 2014, he began his comeback tour, The Garth Brooks World Tour, with wife and musician Trisha Yearwood. His most recent album, Man Against Machine, was released on November 11, 2014, exclusively to his online music store, GhostTunes.

Brooks was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on October 21, 2012.[9]

Early life and education[edit]

Troyal Garth Brooks was born on February 7, 1962, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[10] He was the youngest child of Troyal Raymond Brooks, Jr. (1931–2010), a draftsman for an oil company, and Colleen McElroy Carroll (1929–1999), a 1950s-era country singer of Irish [11][12] ancestry who recorded on the Capitol Records label and appeared on Ozark Jubilee.[13][14][15] This was the second marriage for each of his parents, giving Brooks four older half-siblings (Jim, Jerry, Mike, and Betsy). The couple had two children together, Kelly and Garth.[16] At their home in Yukon, Oklahoma, the family hosted weekly talent nights. All of the children were required to participate, either by singing or doing skits.[17] Brooks learned to play both the guitar and banjo.[18] Colleen died of throat cancer on August 6, 1999.

As a child, Brooks often sang in casual family settings, but his primary focus was athletics. In high school, he played football and baseball and ran track and field. He received a track scholarship to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, where he competed in the javelin.[15][19] Brooks graduated in 1984 with a degree in advertising.[19] His roommate, Ty England, later played guitar in his road band until going solo in 1995.[20]

Career[edit]

1985–89: Musical beginnings[edit]

In 1985, Brooks began his professional music career, singing and playing guitar in Oklahoma clubs and bars, most notably Wild Willie's Saloon in Stillwater.[21] Through his elder siblings, Brooks was exposed to a wide range of music. Although he listened to some country music, especially that of George Jones, Brooks was most fond of rock music, citing James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg, and Townes Van Zandt as major influences.[17] In 1981, after hearing "Unwound", the debut single of George Strait, Brooks decided that he was more interested in playing country music.[17]

In 1985, entertainment attorney Rod Phelps drove from Dallas to listen to Brooks. Phelps liked what he heard and offered to produce Brooks' first demo. With Phelps's encouragement, including a list of Phelps' contacts in Nashville and some of his credit cards, Brooks traveled to Nashville to pursue a recording contract; he returned to Oklahoma within 24 hours.[22] Phelps continued to urge Brooks to return to Nashville, which he did. In 1987, Brooks and wife Sandy Mahl moved to Nashville, and Brooks began making contacts in the music industry.

1989–90: Breakthrough success[edit]

Garth Brooks' eponymous first album was released in 1989 and was a chart success. It peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, and reached number 13 on the Billboard 200 chart. Most of the album was traditionalist country, influenced in part by George Strait.[14] The first single, "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)", was a country top 10 success. It was followed by Brooks' first number one single on the Hot Country Songs chart, "If Tomorrow Never Comes". "Not Counting You" reached number two, and "The Dance" reached number one; its music video, directed by John Lloyd Miller, gave Brooks his first push towards a broader audience. Brooks has later claimed that out of all the songs he has recorded, "The Dance" remains his favorite.[14] In 1989, Brooks embarked on his first major concert tour, as opening act for Kenny Rogers.

Brooks' second album, No Fences, was released in 1990 and spent 23 weeks at number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.[23] The album also reached number 3 on the |Billboard 200, and eventually became Brooks' highest-selling album, with domestic shipments of 17 million.[24] It contained what would become Brooks' signature song, the blue collar anthem "Friends in Low Places", as well as other popular singles, "The Thunder Rolls" and "Unanswered Prayers".

Each of these songs, as well as "Two of a Kind, Workin' on a Full House", reached number-one on the Hot Country Songs chart.[14][23]

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, as well as Dan Fogelberg.[25][26] Similarly, Brooks was influenced by 1970s-era rock of Billy Joel, and Bruce Springsteen and the operatic rock of Queen with Freddie Mercury.

In his live shows, Brooks used a wireless headset microphone to free himself to run about the stage, adding energy and arena rock theatrics to spice up the normally staid country music approach to concerts. The band Kiss was also one of Brooks' early musical influences, and his shows often reflect this. Despite all the cited influences, Brooks stated the energetic style of his stage persona is directly inspired by Chris LeDoux.[27]

In late 1990, Brooks was inducted to the Grand Ole Opry.[28][29]

1991–93: Ropin' the Wind and The Chase[edit]

Brooks' third album, Ropin' the Wind, was released in September 1991. It had advance orders of 4 million copies and entered the Billboard 200 at number one, a first for a country artist.[13] The album's musical content was a melange of pop country and honky tonk; singles included "The River", "What She's Doing Now", and a cover of Billy Joel's "Shameless". It would become Brooks' second-best selling album, after No Fences. The success of Ropin' the Wind further propelled the sales of Brooks' first two albums, enabling Brooks to become the first country artist with three albums listed in the Billboard 200's top 20 in one week.[30]

After spending time in Los Angeles during the 1992 riots, Brooks co-wrote a gospel-country-rock hybrid single, "We Shall Be Free", to express his desire for tolerance.[31] The song became the first single off his fourth album The Chase. The album only reached number 12 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, Brooks' first song in three years to fail to make the top 10.[32][33] Nonetheless, "We Shall Be Free" peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Christian Songs charts through a marketing deal with Rick Hendrix Company, and earned Brooks a 1993 GLAAD Media Award.[34][35] The next single released from The Chase was "Somewhere Other Than the Night", followed by "Learning to Live Again", which peaked at number one and two on the Hot Country Songs chart, respectively. The album's final single, "That Summer", would go on to be the most successful single from the album, reaching number one in July 1993.

1993–94: In Pieces and first world tour[edit]

In 1993, Brooks, who had criticized music stores selling used CDs since it led to a loss in proper royalty payments, persuaded Capitol Records to not ship his 1993 album, In Pieces, to stores which engaged in this practice. This led to several anti-trust lawsuits against the record label, ending with Capitol shipping the albums to the stores anyway.[36]

Despite the delay in shipping, In Pieces was another success, peaking at number one on both the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums charts, and selling a total of nearly 10 million copies. After a delay in its worldwide release, the album also peaked at two on the UK Albums Chart. That same year, "The Red Strokes" became Brooks' first single to make the UK Singles Chart, reaching a high of No. 13; it was followed by "Standing Outside The Fire", which reached No. 23. Previous albums No Fences, Ropin' The Wind and The Chase also remained in the top 30 in the UK Albums Chart.

Brooks' first world tour began in 1993, reaching the United Kingdom after many domestic concerts. Brooks sold out venues such as Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre and London's Wembley Arena, a feat never accomplished by an American country music artist. He also began the London radio station, Country 1035. Despite the disdain of the British media, Brooks' overall popularity in the country was evident, with a top disc jockey, Nick Barraclough, referring to Brooks as Garth Vader (a play on Darth Vader) for his "invasion" of the charts and his success in the country genre. Unlike Alan Jackson, who refused to return to the UK after being treated in a similar negative manner by the press, Brooks would later return in 1996 for more performances.[37] Brooks also took is World Tour to other regions throughout Europe, as well as Brazil, the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand.[37]

In 1994, Brooks paid homage to one of his musical influences, Kiss, appearing on the tribute compilation, Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved, a collection of songs performed by popular artists from various genres. The unlikely collaboration of Brooks and Kiss' rendition of "Hard Luck Woman" was performed live on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and despite its hard-rock appeal, Brooks' version appeared on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

1995–98: More albums released and second world tour[edit]

In November 1995, Brooks released Fresh Horses, his first album of new material in two years. Within six months of its release, the album had sold over three million copies. Despite its promising start, Fresh Horses plateaued quickly, topping out at quadruple platinum.[38] The album's lead single, "She's Every Woman" peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart; however, its follow-up single, "The Fever" (an Aerosmith cover) only peaked at number 23, becoming Brooks' first country single to not chart on the top 10. However, Brooks had three additional top 10 singles from the album, including "The Beaches of Cheyenne", which reached number one.

Following the release of Fresh Horses, Brooks embarked on his second world tour. Its total attendance, approximately 5.5 million, ranks third on the all-time list of concert attendance, and its gross of over $105 million ranks it among the highest-grossing concert tours in the 1990s.[39]

In 1997, Brooks released his seventh studio album, Sevens. The album was originally scheduled to be released in August 1997, allowing for promotion during Brooks' Central Park concert; however, plans went awry after a dispute within Capitol Records.[38] The Central Park concert went on as planned, receiving 980,000 fans in attendance and becoming the largest concert in park history.[40]

Sevens debuted at number one on both the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums charts. It later became Brooks' fourth album to reach a sales of 10 million copies. The album included the duet "In Another's Eyes" with Trisha Yearwood, which reached number 2 on Hot Country Songs chart, and its first single, "Longneck Bottle", with Steve Wariner, reached number one. The album spawned two additional number one singles, "Two Pina Coladas" and "To Make You Feel My Love" (a Bob Dylan cover), which also was a top 10 hit on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart and was released on the soundtrack to the film, Hope Floats.

Brooks' first live album, Double Live was released in 1998. Recorded at various shows over the course of his second world tour, the album contained new material not previously released, such as "Tearin' It Up (And Burnin' It Down)" and "Wild As The Wind," featuring Trisha Yearwood. Peaking at number one on both the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums charts, Double Live went on to become the best-selling live album of all time, certified 21× Platinum by the RIAA, and is the seventh-most shipped album in United States music history.[41]

In 1998, Brooks also released the first installment of The Limited Series, a six-disc box set containing reissues of his first six studio albums. Each of the reissued albums included a bonus track not available on the original release.

1999: "Chris Gaines"[edit]

Main article: Chris Gaines

In 1999, Brooks took on the alter ego of "Chris Gaines", a fictitious rock and roll musician and character for an upcoming film, The Lamb. In October 1999, the films pre-release soundtrack, Garth Brooks in ... The Life of Chris Gaines (also dubbed Gaines' Greatest Hits), was released to much public criticism. Brooks also appeared as Gaines in a television mockumentary for the VH1 series Behind the Music, as the musical guest on an episode of Saturday Night Live, which he also hosted as himself.

Brooks' promotion of the album and the film did not promote excitement and the failure of the Gaines project evident mere weeks after the album was released. The majority of the American public was either bewildered, or completely unreceptive to the idea of Brooks portraying a rock and roll musician.[42] Sales of the album were unspectacular, at least compared with most of Brooks' previous albums, and although it made it to number 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, expectations had been higher and retail stores began heavily discounting their oversupply.[43] Less-than-expected sales of the album (more than two million) brought the project to an indefinite hiatus in February 2001 and Gaines quickly faded into obscurity.[44]

Despite the less-than-spectacular response to the Gaines project, Brooks gained his first (and only) Billboard Top 40 pop single in "Lost in You". The album was later certified Double Platinum by the RIAA.

2000–04: Scarecrow and retirement[edit]

As his career flourished, Brooks seemed frustrated by the conflicts between career and family. He first talked of retiring from performing in 1992, and again in 1995, but each time returned to touring.[32] In 1999, Brooks appeared on The Nashville Network's Crook & Chase program, again mentioning retirement in a more serious tone.[45] On October 26, 2000, Brooks officially announced his retirement from recording and performing.[46] Later that evening, Capitol Records noted Brooks' achievement of selling 100 million albums in the US, celebrating at Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center.[47]

Brooks' final album before retirement, Scarecrow, was released on November 13, 2001. The album did not match the sales levels of Brooks' heyday, but still sold well, reaching number one on Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums charts. Although he staged a few performances for promotional purposes, Brooks stated that he would be retired from recording and performing at least until his youngest daughter finished high school.[46]

2005–08: Compilation albums and special performances[edit]

In 2005, Brooks expressed his interest in returning to live performances; however, he remained adamant to the premise of not releasing new music until 2014. Despite this, later that year, Brooks signed a deal with Walmart, leasing them the rights to his entire catalog following his split with Capitol Records.[48][49] Brooks was one of the first musicians to sign an exclusive music distribution deal with a single retailer (along with fellow country music artist Ricky Van Shelton, who issued his 1998 album Making Plans through the chain as well).[48][50]

Three months later, in November 2005, Brooks and Walmart issued an updated The Limited Series compilation, a box set containing reissues of Brooks' albums, including Double Live, and The Lost Sessions, featuring eleven previously unreleased recordings. The box set sold more than 500,000 physical copies on its issue date. By the first week in December 2005, it had sold over 1 million physical copies.[6]

Brooks took a brief break from retirement early in 2005 to perform in various benefit concerts. He also released a new single, "Good Ride Cowboy", as a tribute to his late friend and country singer, Chris LeDoux, via Walmart.[7]

In early 2006, Walmart reissued The Lost Sessions as a single CD apart from the box set, with additional songs, including a duet with Trisha Yearwood, "Love Will Always Win", which reached the top 25 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.[51] The couple were later nominated for a "Best Country Collaboration With Vocals" Grammy Award.

On August 18, 2007, Brooks announced plans for a new box set, The Ultimate Hits. The new set featured two discs containing 30 classic songs, three new songs, and a DVD featuring music videos. The album's first single, "More Than a Memory", was released on August 27, 2007. It debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, becoming the highest-debuting single in the chart's history.[52]

In November 2007, Brooks embarked on Garth Brooks: Live in Kansas City, performing nine sold-out concerts in Kansas City at the Sprint Center, which had opened a month prior. Originally scheduled to be only one show, the performance expanded to nine due to incredibly high demand, with all nine shows (equaling about 140,000 tickets) selling out in under two hours.[53] The final concert of the series was simulcast to more than 300 movie theaters across the U.S.[54]

2009–2013: Las Vegas residency shows[edit]

Brooks at the We Are One concert in 2009
Main article: Garth at Wynn

In January 2009, Brooks made another one of few public appearances since his retirement, performing at the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial concert in Washington, D.C.. In his three-song set, Brooks performed "We Shall Be Free", along with covers of Don McLean's "American Pie" and The Isley Brothers' "Shout".

On October 15, 2009, Brooks suspended his retirement to begin Garth at Wynn, a series of periodic weekend residency shows at Encore Las Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip. The schedule allowed Brooks both to have the family life during the week and to continue to perform on the weekend. The financial terms of the agreement were not announced, but Steve Wynn did disclose that he gave Brooks access to a private jet to quickly transport him between Las Vegas and his home in Oklahoma.[55]

Brooks' first weekend on shows in Vegas received positive reviews and was called the "antithesis of Vegas glitz and of the country singer's arena and stadium extravaganzas" by USA Today. The shows featured Brooks performing solo, acoustic concerts, and included a set list of songs that have influenced him. Artists covered in the show include Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Seger, Billy Joel, and Don McLean. His first performances at Encore Las Vegas coincided with his wedding anniversary, and his wife Trisha Yearwood joined him for two songs.

In 2013, influenced by the set list of the Las Vegas shows, Brooks released Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences via Walmart, a compilation album consisting of songs Brooks attributes to the development of his unique country pop genre. The box set's albums were individually certified Platinum and the compilation received a Billboard Music Award nomination. In an December 2013 appearance on Good Morning America to promote the album, Brooks also surprisingly announced plans for a world tour, beginning in 2014.[56]

2014–present: Man Against Machine and world tour[edit]

In February 2014, Brooks announcing two concerts at Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland to be held on July 25 and 26, 2014. Due to high demand, three additional shows were added, and a total of 400,000 tickets were sold.[57] However, due to licensing conflict, Aiken Promotions and Croke Park management were prompted to cancel two of the five concerts after conflict among nearby residents.[58] Brooks, committed to performing the five original concerts, refused to follow through with the request to only perform three, and all concerts were cancelled.[59]

On July 10, 2014, Brooks held a press conference where he announced his signing with Sony Music Nashville, as well as confirming plans for a new album, world tour, the release of his music in a digital format, and remorse for the Ireland concert controversy.[8] Fifteen days later, tickets first went on sale for The Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood. Because the Ireland concerts were announced months earlier, they are not considered to have been part of the actual tour.

On September 3, 2014 Brooks released his comeback single, "People Loving People", in promotion of his world tour and new album, Man Against Machine. The song debuted onto the Nielsen BDS-driven Country Airplay chart at No. 19, tying for the third-highest debut of Brooks' career.[60][61][62] On September 4, 2014, Brooks released his entire studio output on digital for the first time ever. Bypassing traditional digital music service providers, Brooks opted into releasing his albums directly his own new online music store, GhostTunes.[63] On September 19, Brooks confirmed the release date for his next album, scheduled for November 11 via a press conference in Atlanta. Man Against Machine was released via Pearl and RCA Nashville and is available online exclusively through GhostTunes.[64]

In September 2015, it was announced Brooks would reissue his album No Fences later in the year to commemorate its 25-year release anniversary. The release would include a new version of "Friends in Low Places", featuring George Strait, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, and Keith Urban singing along with Brooks. The album release has since been delayed due to royalty disputes.[65]

Brooks is currently composing a duet Christmas album with wife Trisha Yearwood, slated for release in the 2016 holiday season.[66]

On August 9, 2016, it was confirmed that Brooks had left RCA Nashville so he can release future albums via his own label Pearl Records.[67]

Other ventures[edit]

Professional baseball[edit]

In 1998, Brooks launched his Touch'em All Foundation with Major League Baseball. He also began with a short career in baseball, when he signed with the San Diego Padres for spring training in 1998 and 1999.[68][69] Brooks' performance on the field did not warrant management placing him on the regular season roster; however, he was offered a non-roster spot, but declined it.[70] The following season, Brooks signed with the New York Mets. This spring-training stint was also a poor performance for Brooks, resulting in a zero-for-seventeen batting record.[71]

In 2004, Brooks returned to baseball with the Kansas City Royals.[72] He got his first and only hit off Mike Myers during his final spring training game with the Royals.[73]

Pearl Records[edit]

In 2005, Brooks ended his association with Capitol Records and established his own record label, Pearl Records.[74] Brooks has released four compilation albums via Pearl Records, as well as his 2014 studio album (also released through RCA Records Nashville).

GhostTunes[edit]

Main article: GhostTunes

In September 2014, Brooks established GhostTunes, an online music store featuring his own digital music, as well as over ten million songs from other artists. The store, contracted with "the big three" record labels, allows for autonomous pricing and distribution format, resulting in the most proper royalty payments for artists and songwriters.[75]

Personal life[edit]

Brooks graduated from Oklahoma State University–Stillwater where he starred on the track team. He later completed his MBA from Oklahoma State and participated in the commencement ceremony on May 6, 2011.[76]

Brooks' second wife, Trisha Yearwood

Brooks married his college sweetheart, songwriter Sandy Mahl, on May 24, 1986. The couple later had three daughters: Taylor Mayne Pearl (born 1992), August Anna (born 1994), and Allie Colleen Brooks (born 1996) [77][78] Brooks and Mahl separated in March 1999, announcing their plans to divorce on October 9, 2000, and filing for divorce on November 6, 2000.[47][79] The divorce became final on December 17, 2001.[79][80] Brooks remarried on December 10, 2005, to country singer Trisha Yearwood.[15][19] In July 2013, Brooks became a grandfather when August had daughter Karalyn with her boyfriend Chance Michael Russell.[81][82]

Charitable activities[edit]

In 1999, Brooks began the Teammates for Kids Foundation, which provides financial aid to charities for children.[83] The organization breaks down into three categories spanning three different sports:

  • Touch 'Em All Foundation – Baseball Division
  • Top Shelf – Hockey Division
  • Touchdown – Football Division

Brooks is also a fundraiser for various other charities, including a number of children's charities and famine relief. With wife Trisha Yearwood, Brooks sang Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Who'll Stop the Rain" on the Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast nationwide telethon for Hurricane Katrina relief.[84] He performed the Garth Brooks: Live in LA benefit concerts, five sold out concerts over two days at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on January 25 and 26, 2008 (setting numerous records at the high-profile venue in the process). These concerts were staged to raise money for Fire Intervention Relief Effort, serving those impacted by the 2007 California wildfires. Tickets were priced at $40 each and all five shows (totaling more than 85,000 tickets) sold out in 58 minutes. CBS broadcast the first concert live as a telethon for additional fundraising.[85]

Brooks, along with wife Yearwood, has supported Habitat for Humanity's work over the years, including the annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.[86] They have worked alongside the Carters in the United States and in Haiti, lending their time and voices to help build safe, decent and affordable homes. Brooks' Teammates for Kids Foundation provided more than $1 million in funding to Habitat to help build homes in Thailand following the Asian tsunami.[87] In December 2010, Brooks played 9 shows in less than a week in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena to benefit victims from the May 2010 Nashville flood. Over 140,000 tickets were sold and $5 million raised.

On July 6, 2013, Brooks joined with Toby Keith for a benefit concert for victims of the 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes. The sold out show featured artists Mel Tillis, John Anderson, Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood, Sammy Hagar, Kellie Coffey, Ronnie Dunn, Carrie Underwood and Krystal Keith. It was held at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.[88] Most recently, while between legs of his world tour in 2015, Brooks performed a sold-out concert in Barretos, Brazil to benefit the Hospital de Câncer de Barretos.[89]

Support for gay rights[edit]

In a 1999 interview with George, Brooks said, "[...]But if you're in love, you've got to follow your heart and trust that God will explain to us why we sometimes fall in love with people of the same sex."[90][91] Lyrics to his song, "We Shall Be Free", features the line, "When we're free to love anyone we choose," which has been interpreted as a reference to gay relationships.[90] Brooks won a 1993 GLAAD Media Award for the song.

In 2000, Brooks appeared at the Equality Rocks benefit concert for gay rights. He sang a duet with openly gay singer George Michael.[92]

Brooks' half-sister Betsy Smittle, who died in 2013, was a well-known musician and part of Brooks' band for some years; she also worked with the late country star Gus Hardin and other musicians in Tulsa. Smittle was also a lesbian, and Brooks has credited her with some of the inspiration for his support for same-sex marriage.[93][94]

Awards and records[edit]

Brooks receiving the Grammys on the Hill's Solo Artist of the Century award in 2010

Brooks has won a record 22 Academy of Country Music Awards and received a total of 47 overall nominations. His 13 Grammy Award nominations have resulted in 2 awards won, along with Billboard Music Awards, Country Music Association Awards, and many others. Brooks' work has earned awards and nominations in television and film as well, including the Primetime Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

Records[edit]

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Brooks was the best-selling solo artist of the 20th century in America.[95] This conclusion drew criticism from the press and many music fans who were convinced that Elvis Presley had sold more records, but had been short-changed in the rankings due to faulty RIAA certification methods during his lifetime.[96][97] Brooks, while proud of his sales accomplishments, stated that he too believed that Presley must have sold more.[96]

The RIAA has since reexamined their methods for counting certifications. Under their revised methods, Presley became the best-selling solo artist in U.S. history, making Brooks the number two solo artist, ranking third overall, as the Beatles have sold more albums than either he or Presley.[98] The revision brought more criticism of the accuracy of the RIAA's figures, this time from Brooks' followers. On November 5, 2007, Brooks was again named the best selling solo artist in US history, surpassing Presley after audited sales of 123 million were announced.[99] In December 2010, several more of Presley's albums received certifications from the RIAA. As a result, Elvis again surpassed Brooks.[100] As of October 2014, the RIAA lists Presley's total sales at 134.5 million and Brooks' at 134 million.[101] Subsequently, Man Against Machine has been certified by the RIAA as Platinum and listing Brooks sales as exceeding 136 million, placing Brooks again as the #1 selling solo artist.[102]

In 2012, Brooks officially passed the Beatles as the top-selling act of the past 20 years, moving 68.5 million units worldwide, almost 5 million more than the Beatles.[103] In May 2014, Brooks' total album sales reached 69,544,000 copies, which makes him the best-selling album artist in the United States, ahead of the Beatles (65,730,000), Metallica (54,365,000), Mariah Carey (54,280,000) and Celine Dion (52,234,000).[104]

In 2016, Brooks became the first artist to earn seven career Diamond Awards, according to the RIAA.[105]

Discography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1989 Nashville Beat Himself TV Movie
1990 Hee Haw Himself 4 episodes
1991 Empty Nest Himself Episode: "Country Weston"
1994 Mad About You Himself Episode: "Up All Night"
1995 Sesame Street Himself Episode: "A New Way to Walk"
1996 Muppets Tonight Himself Episode: "Garth Brooks"
1998 Saturday Night Live Himself Host; musical guest
1999 Saturday Night Live Himself; Chris Gaines Host; musical guest (as Gaines)
1999 Behind the Music Chris Gaines Episode: "Behind the Life of Chris Gaines"

Concert tours and residencies[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Garth Brooks". Allmusic. Retrieved December 11, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Johnson, Kevin C. (2000-11-11), "Country music may survive A.G. (After Garth)", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, retrieved 2007-04-03 
  3. ^ "RIAA Top SellingArtists (Albums)". RIAA. Retrieved 2015-01-13. 
  4. ^ Smith, Kelly Rae (March 10, 2016). "Garth Brooks is back in Raleigh, doing 3 shows at PNC". The News & Observer. Retrieved March 10, 2016. 
  5. ^ RIAA Gold and Platinum Search for albums by Garth Brooks 27 January 2016
  6. ^ a b "Garth cracks a Million – again", Country Weekly, December 8, 2005, retrieved 2007-03-16 
  7. ^ a b "Garth Brooks Boxed Set is Single Biggest Music Event in Wal-Mart History" (Press release). Wal-Mart. November 29, 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  8. ^ a b Watts, Cindy. "Garth Brooks talks new album, tour at press conference". The Tennesseeian. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  9. ^ Talbort, Chris. "BROOKS HEADS FOR COUNTRY HALL OF FAME, LOOKS AHEAD". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  10. ^ "Brooks, Troyal Garth (1962- )". Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. Archived from the original on 1 December 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  11. ^ ""I'm planning to spend some time seeking out my own family roots while I'm in Ireland," Garth told Country Weekly". 
  12. ^ "Gerry traced his Irish ancestry on his mother's side and presented Garth with a family crest". 
  13. ^ a b McGraw, Marjie (December 2, 1992), "Hitting 'Em in the Heart", The Saturday Evening Post, retrieved 2007-04-03 
  14. ^ a b c d Pond, Steve (June 1, 1994), "Garth Brooks", Playboy, retrieved 2007-04-23 
  15. ^ a b c Hilburn, Robert (June 27, 1992), "The Amazing Garth-O-Matic!", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 2007-04-03 
  16. ^ Cox (2009), p. 4.
  17. ^ a b c Cox (2009), p. 8.
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Sources[edit]

  • Cox, Patsi Bale (2009), The Garth Factor: The Career Behind Country's Big Boom, New York: Center Street, ISBN 978-1-59995-099-0 

Further reading[edit]

  • Feiler, Bruce S. (1998), Dreaming Out Loud: Garth Brooks, Wynonna Judd, Wade Hayes, and the Changing Face of Nashville, HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0-380-97578-5 
  • McCall, Michael (1991), Garth Brooks: A Biography, Bantam Books, ISBN 978-0-553-29823-9 
  • Mitchell, Rick (1993), Garth Brooks:One of a Kind, Workin' on a Full House, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0-671-79688-4 
  • Morris, Ed (1993), Garth Brooks: Platinum Cowboy, St. Martin's Press, ISBN 978-0-312-08788-3 
  • O'Meilia, Matt (1997), Garth Brooks: The Road Out of Santa Fe, University of Oklahoma Press, ISBN 978-0-585-14880-9 
  • Sgammato, Jo (2000), American Thunder: The Garth Brooks Story, Random House Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-345-43950-5 
  • Smedley, Jenny (2006), Souls Don't Lie, O Books Publishing, ISBN 978-1-905047-83-3 

External links[edit]