This article is about the performer. For his eponymous album, see.
Troyal Garth Brooks (born February 7, 1962) is an American singer and songwriter. His integration of elements into the genre has earned him immense popularity in the United States. Brooks has had great success on the country single and album charts, with multi-platinum recordings and record-breaking, while also crossing over into the mainstream pop arena.
According to the, he is the with 148 million domestic units sold, ahead of Elvis Presley, and is second only to in total album sales overall. He is also one of the world's, having sold more than 170 million records.
As of September 23, 2016, Brooks is now the only artist in music history to have released 7 albums that achieved status in the United States (surpassing the Beatles record of 6); those albums are (10× platinum), (17× platinum), (14× platinum), (10× platinum), (10× platinum), (21× platinum), and (10× platinum). Since 1989, Brooks has released 21 records in all, which include: 12 studio albums, 1 live album, 3 compilation albums, 3 Christmas albums and 4 box sets, along with 77 singles. He won several awards in his career, including 2, 17 (including "Artist of the '90s") and the RIAA Award for best-selling solo albums artist of the century in the U.S.
Troubled by conflicts between career and family, Brooks retired from recording and performing from 2001 until 2009. During this time, he sold millions of albums through an exclusive distribution deal with and sporadically released new singles. In 2005, Brooks started a partial comeback, giving select performances and releasing two compilation albums.
In 2009, he began, a periodic weekend at ' from December 2009 to January 2014. Following the conclusion of the residency, Brooks announced his signing with in July 2014. In September 2014, he began his comeback, with wife and musician. His most recent album,, was released in November double heart photo frame 2016.
Brooks was inducted into the on October 21, 2012. He was also inducted into the in 2011.
Early life and education
Troyal Garth Brooks was born on February 7, 1962, in. He was the youngest child of Troyal Raymond Brooks, Jr. (1931–2010), a for an oil company, and Colleen McElroy Carroll (1929–1999), a 1950s-era country singer of ancestry who recorded on the label and appeared on. This was the second marriage for each of his parents, giving Brooks four older half-siblings (Jim, Jerry, Mike, and Betsy). The photo couple had two children together, Kelly and Garth. At their home in, the family hosted weekly talent nights. All of the children were required to participate, either by singing or doing skits.Brooks learned to play both the guitar and banjo.
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 in, where he competed in the.Brooks graduated in 1984 with a degree in advertising. His roommate,, later played guitar in his road band until going solo in 1995.
1985–1989: Musical beginnings
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. Through his elder siblings, Brooks was exposed to a wide range of music. Although he listened to some, especially that of, Brooks was most fond of rock music, citing,, and as major influences. In 1981, after hearing "", the debut single of, Brooks decided that he was more interested in playing country music.
In 1985, entertainment attorney Rod Phelps drove from to listen to Brooks. Phelps liked what he heard and offered to produce Brooks' first demo. With Phelps' encouragement, including a list of Phelps' contacts in and some of his credit cards, Brooks traveled to Nashville to pursue a recording contract; he returned to Oklahoma within 24 hours. 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.
1989–1990: Breakthrough success
Garth Brooks' was released in 1989 and was a chart success. It peaked at No. 2 on the chart, and reached No. 13 on the chart. Most of the album was traditionalist country, influenced in part by George Strait. The first single, "", was a country top 10 success. It was followed by Brooks' first number-one single on the chart, "". "" reached No. 2, and "" reached No. 1; its music video, directed by, 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. In 1989, Brooks embarked on his first major concert tour, as opening act for.
Brooks' second album,, was released in 1990 and spent 23 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The album also reached No. 3 on the |Billboard 200, and eventually became Brooks' highest-selling album, with domestic shipments of 17 million. It contained what would become Brooks', the anthem "", as well as other popular singles, "" and "".
Each of these songs, as well as "", reached No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
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, whom he idolized and named his first child after, as well as. Similarly, Brooks was influenced by 1970s-era rock of, and and the operatic rock of with.
In his live shows, Brooks used a wireless headset microphone to free himself to run about the stage, adding energy and theatrics to spice up the normally staid country music approach to concerts. The band 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.
In late 1990, Brooks was into the.
1991–1993: Ropin' the Wind, The Chase, and Beyond the Season
Brooks' third album,, was released in September 1991. It had advance orders of 4 million copies and entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1, a first for a country artist. The album's musical content was a melange of pop country and ; singles included "", "", and a cover of Billy Joel's "". 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.
After spending time in during the, Brooks co-wrote a gospel-country-rock hybrid single, "", to express his desire for tolerance. The song became the first single off his fourth album. The album only reached No. 12 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, Brooks' first song in three years to fail to make the top 10. Nonetheless, "We Shall Be Free" peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard Christian Songs charts through a marketing deal with Rick Hendrix Company, and earned Brooks a 1993. The next single released from The Chase was "", followed by "", which peaked at numbers one and two on the Hot Country Songs chart, respectively. The album's final single, "", would go on to be the most successful single from the album, reaching No. 1 in July 1993.
Brooks released his first Christmas album, "Beyond the Season" on August 25, 1992. The album included classics such as "White Christmas" and "Silent Night" as well as an original tune "The Old Man's Back in Town." "Beyond the Season" was the best selling Christmas album in 1992, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart.
1993–1994: In Pieces and first world tour
In 1993, Brooks, who had criticized music stores selling used since it led to a loss in proper, persuaded to not ship his 1993 album,, to stores which engaged in this practice. This led to several lawsuits against the record label, ending with Capitol shipping the albums to the stores anyway.
Despite the delay in shipping, In Pieces was another success, peaking at No. 1 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 No. 2 on the United Kingdom. That same year, "" became Brooks' first single to make the UK Singles Chart, reaching a high of No. 13; it was followed by "", 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 began in 1993, reaching the UK after many domestic concerts. Brooks sold out venues such as 's and 's, a feat never accomplished by an American country music artist. He also began the London radio station,. Despite the disdain of the British media, Brooks' overall popularity in the country was evident, with a top,, referring to Brooks as Garth Vader (a play on ) for his "invasion" of the charts and his success in the country genre. Unlike, 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.Brooks also took is World Tour to other regions throughout Europe, as well as, the, Australia, and New Zealand.
In 1994, Brooks paid homage to one of his musical influences,, appearing on the tribute compilation, , a collection of songs performed by popular artists from various genres. The unlikely collaboration of Brooks and Kiss' rendition of "" was performed live on, and despite its hard-rock appeal, Brooks' version appeared on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
1995–1998: More albums released and second world tour
In November 1995, Brooks released, 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. The album's lead single, "" peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart; however, its follow-up single, "" (an cover) only peaked at No. 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 "", which reached No. 1.
Following the release of Fresh Horses, Brooks embarked on his second. Its total attendance, approximately 5.5 million, ranks third on the all-time list of concert attendance, and its gross of over 5 million ranks it among the in the 1990s.
In 1997, Brooks released his seventh studio album,. The album was originally scheduled to be released in August 1997, allowing for promotion during Brooks' ; however, plans went awry after a dispute within Capitol Records. The Central Park concert went on as planned, receiving 980,000 fans in attendance and becoming the largest concert in park history.
Sevens debuted at No. 1 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 "" with, which reached No. 2 on Hot Country Songs chart, and its first single, "", with, reached No. 1. The album spawned two additional number-one singles, "" and "" (a cover), which also was a top 10 hit on the chart and was released on the to the film,.
Brooks' first, 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. Peaking at No. 1 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 by the, and is the seventh-most shipped album in United States music history.
In 1998, Brooks also released the first installment of, 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" and holiday album
In 1999, Brooks took on the of "", a fictitious musician and character for an upcoming film, The Lamb. In October 1999, the film's pre-release soundtrack, (also dubbed Gaines' Greatest Hits), was released to much public criticism. Brooks also appeared as Gaines in a television for the series, and as the musical guest on an episode of, which he also hosted as himself.
Brooks' promotion of the album and the film did not garner excitement, and the failure of the Gaines project was 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. Sales of the album were unspectacular, at least compared with most of Brooks' previous albums, and although it made it to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, expectations had been higher and retail stores began heavily discounting their oversupply. 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.
Despite the less-than-spectacular response to the Gaines project, Brooks gained his first (and only) Billboard Top 40 pop single in "". The album was later certified Double Platinum by the RIAA.
On November 23, 1999, Brooks released his second holiday album,. The album peaked at No. 7 on Billboard's Top 200 and No. 1 on the Top Country Albums, making it Brooks' 10th number-one album.
2000–2004: Scarecrow and retirement
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. In 1999, Brooks appeared on 's Crook & Chase program, again mentioning retirement in a more serious tone. On October 26, 2000, Brooks officially announced his retirement from recording and performing. Later that evening, Capitol Records noted Brooks' achievement of selling 100 million albums in the US, celebrating at Nashville's.
Brooks' final album before retirement,, was released on November 13, 2001. The album did not match the sales levels of Brooks' heyday, but still sold well, reaching No. 1 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.
2005–2008: Compilation albums and special performances
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, leasing them the rights to his entire catalog following his split with Capitol Records.Brooks was one of the first musicians to sign an exclusive music distribution deal with a single retailer (along with fellow country music artist, who issued his 1998 album through the chain as well).
Three months later, in November 2005, Brooks and Walmart issued an updated compilation, a box set containing reissues of Brooks' albums, including, 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.
Brooks took a brief break from retirement early in 2005 to perform in various. He also released a new single, "", as a tribute to his late friend and country singer,, via Walmart.
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. The couple were later nominated for a "Best Country Collaboration With Vocals".
On August 18, 2007, Brooks announced plans for a new box set,. The new set featured two discs containing 30 classic songs, three new songs, and a DVD featuring music videos. The album's first single, "", was released on August 27, 2007. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, becoming the highest-debuting single in the chart's history.
In November 2007, Brooks embarked on, performing nine sold-out concerts in Kansas City at the, 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. The final concert of the series was simulcast to more than 300 movie theaters across the U.S.
In January 2008, Brooks embarked on another incredible feat performing 5 sold out shows (in less than 48 hours) at the in Los Angeles for a fundraiser towards the 2007 wildfires season that impacted much of Southern California's cities and counties. The first concert (of the 5) titled was taped and broadcast repeatedly on CBS with all donations going to all of the victims and families in state of California who were impacted by the fires.
2009–2013: Las Vegas concert residencyBrooks at the concert in 2009
In January 2009, Brooks made another one of few public appearances since his retirement, performing at the concert in. In his three-song set, Brooks performed "We Shall Be Free", along with covers of 's "" and ' "".
On October 15, 2009, Brooks suspended his retirement to begin, a periodic weekend at on the. 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 did disclose that he gave Brooks access to a private jet to quickly transport him between and his home in.
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, concerts, and included a of songs that have influenced him. Artists covered in the show include,,, and. His first performances at Encore Las Vegas coincided with his wedding anniversary, and his wife joined him for two songs.
In 2013, influenced by the set list of the Las Vegas shows, Brooks released 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 nomination. In an December 2013 appearance on to promote the album, Brooks also surprisingly announced plans for a world tour, beginning in 2014.
2014–2015: Man Against Machine, Ghosttunes, and world tour
Main articles: and
In February 2014, Brooks announcing two concerts at,, 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. However, due to licensing conflict, and Croke Park management were prompted to cancel two of the five concerts after conflict among nearby residents.Brooks, committed to performing the five original concerts, refused to follow through with the request to only perform three, and all concerts were cancelled.
On July 10, 2014, Brooks held a press conference where he announced his signing with, 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. Fifteen days later, tickets first went on sale for the. 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, "", in promotion of his world tour and new album,. The song debuted onto the Nielsen BDS-driven Country Airplay chart at No. 19, tying for the third-highest debut of Brooks' career. 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,. 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 and was available online exclusively through GhostTunes. GhostTunes closed on March 3, 2017. Brooks' digital catalogue moved to Amazon Music, who maintain exclusive rights over it.
In September 2015, it was announced Brooks would reissue his album later in the year to commemorate its 25-year release anniversary. The release would include a new version of "", featuring,,, and singing along with Brooks. The album release has since been delayed due to royalty disputes. The track was later featured on his 2016 compilation album,.
2016–2017: Gunslinger, Christmas Together, and online streaming
On October 13, 2016, Brooks released the first single, "", from his upcoming album. The following week, Brooks released the upcoming album's title,, via. It was released on November 11, 2016 as a part of, a compilation album Brooks released through. Brooks' other project for 2016 was a duet holiday album with wife,.
After years of royalty disputes and an opposition to, Brooks launched a streaming channel on. He also reached an agreement to stream his entire catalogue via.
2018–present: new single and future tour plans
On June 19, 2018 Brooks released a new single, "", the first off his upcoming 2019 album. The release also included a, "The Road I'm On".
In August 2018, Brooks announced new,, to be released in partnership with.
The vast majority of Garth Brooks' recordings have used the same studio band, known collectively as the "G-Men". The G-Men consisted of (steel guitar), Mark Casstevens (acoustic guitar), Mike Chapman (bass guitar), Rob Hajacos (fiddle), Milton Sledge (drums), and Bobby Wood (keyboards), along with sound engineer Mark Miller, who took over from as Brooks's producer starting with Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences. Chapman died on June 13, 2016.
In 1998, Brooks launched his Touch 'em All Foundation with. He also began with a short career in, when he signed with the for in 1998 and 1999.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. The following season, Brooks signed with the. This spring-training stint was also a poor performance for Brooks, resulting in a zero-for-seventeen batting record.
In 2004, Brooks returned to baseball with the. He got his first and only hit off during his final spring training game with the Royals.
In 2005, Brooks ended his association with and established his own, Pearl Records.Brooks has released four compilation albums via Pearl Records, as well as his 2014 and 2016 studio albums plus any future releases (also released through ).
In September 2014, Brooks established, an featuring his own, as well as over ten million songs from other artists. The store, contracted with "", allows for autonomous pricing and distribution format, resulting in the most proper for artists and songwriters. In March 2017, GhostTunes officially closed, merging with.
Brooks graduated from where he starred on the track team. He later completed his from Oklahoma State and participated in the commencement ceremony on May 6, 2011.
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) Brooks and Mahl separated in March 1999, announcing their plans to divorce on October 9, 2000, and filing for divorce on November 6, 2000. The divorce became final on December 17, 2001.Brooks remarried on December 10, 2005, to country singer. In July 2013, Brooks became a grandfather when August had daughter Karalynn with Chance Michael Russell.
In 1999, Brooks began the Teammates for Kids Foundation, which provides financial aid to charities for children. 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 's "" on the nationwide telethon for relief. He performed the, five sold out concerts over two days at the in, 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. Tickets were priced at each and all five shows (totaling more than 85,000 tickets) sold out in 58 minutes. broadcast the first concert live as a for additional fundraising.
Brooks, along with wife Yearwood, has supported 's work over the years, including the annual. 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 million in funding to Habitat to help build homes in Thailand following the Asian tsunami. In December 2010, Brooks played nine shows in less than a week in Nashville at to benefit victims from the. Over 140,000 tickets were sold and million raised.
On July 6, 2013, Brooks joined with for a benefit concert for victims of the 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes. The sold out show featured artists,,,,,,, and. It was held at. Most recently, while between legs of his world tour in 2015, Brooks performed a sold-out concert in, Brazil to benefit the Hospital de Câncer de Barretos.
Support for gay rights
In a 1999 interview with, 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." 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.Brooks won a 1993 for the song.
In 2000, Brooks appeared at the benefit concert for. He sang a duet with openly gay singer.
Brooks' half-sister Betsy Smittle, who died in 2013, was a well-known musician - releasing her own album Rough Around the Edges as Betsy - and part of Brooks' band for some years; she also worked with the late country star and other musicians in Tulsa. Smittle was also a, and Brooks has credited her with some of the inspiration for his support for same-sex marriage.
Awards and recordsBrooks receiving the Grammys on the Hill's Solo Artist of the Century award in 2010
Brooks has won a record 22 and received a total of 47 overall nominations. His 13 nominations have resulted in 2 awards won, along with,, and many others. Brooks' work has earned awards and nominations in television and film as well, including the and. He was inducted into the in 2012.
According to the, Brooks was the best-selling solo artist of the 20th century in America. This conclusion drew criticism from the press and many music fans who were convinced that had sold more records, but had been short-changed in the rankings due to faulty RIAA certification methods during his lifetime.Brooks, while proud of his sales accomplishments, stated that he too believed that Presley must have sold more.
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 have sold more albums than either he or Presley. 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. In December 2010, several more of Presley's albums received certifications from the RIAA. As a result, Elvis again surpassed Brooks. As of October 2014, the RIAA lists Presley's total sales at 134.5 million and Brooks' at 134 million. 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.
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. In May 2014, Brooks' total album sales reached 69,544,000 copies, which makes him the best-selling album artist in the U.S., ahead of the Beatles (65,730,000), (54,365,000), (54,280,000) and (52,234,000).
In September 2016, Brooks became the first and only artist in music history to now achieve seven career albums, according to the RIAA.
In 2014 Brooks was awarded the certificate.
FilmographyNotable television appearances Year Title Role Notes Ref. 1989 Nashville Beat Himself 1990 Himself 4 episodes 1991 Himself Episode: "Country Weston" 1994 Himself Episode: "Up All Night" 1995 Himself Episode: "A New Way to Walk" 1996 Himself Episode: "Garth Brooks" 1998 Himself Host, musical guest 1999 Saturday Night Live Himself; Host, musical guest (as Gaines) 1999 Chris Gaines Episode: "Behind the Life of Chris Gaines" 2016 Himself / Mentor
Concert tours and residencies
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