When one thinks of country music, Garth Brooks is one name that is sure to come to mind. With one of the most undoubtedly successful careers in popular music throughout the years, Brooks has broken records for album sales and concert attendance and still, despite an eight year hiatus, continues to succeed. Brooks was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1962. He grew up in a musical family; each of the children was required to sing or do skits in a weekly talent night hosted by their parents (their mother of whom was a recording artist with Capitol Records in the 50s). Garth chose to play the guitar and the banjo. It wasn’t until after his college career, however, that Garth began his musical career in a professional manner. He sang and played guitar in local clubs and bars in Oklahoma. He was inspired by country music, but also, primarily, by rock. In 1985, entertainment attorney Rod Phelps traveled to hear Brooks play and, liking what he heard, encouraged Brooks to travel to Nashville. A couple years later, Brooks was making memorable music and, by 1990, was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry.
Brooks’ first album was released in 1989 and settled in comfortably at the Number Two spot on the country charts and the Number Thirteen spot on the Billboard 200 pop album chart. “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old),” “Not Counting You,” “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” and “The Dance” were all in the Top 10, the latter two reaching Number One status. No Fences, his second album, spent twenty-three weeks at the Number One spot on the country music charts. No Fences included Garth’s signature song and the dubbed “blue collar anthem,” “Friends in Low Places,” as well as “The Thunder Rolls” and “Unanswered Prayers.” “Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House,” “Shameless,” “The River,” “Two Piña Coladas” and “To Make You Feel My Love” are just a few of his other Number One hits throughout his career.
Besides becoming a member of Grand Ole Opry, which Brooks lists as his highest achievement, Garth has numerous awards under his name, including two Grammys, seventeen American Music Awards, eleven Country Music Association Awards and eighteen Academy of Country Music Awards, such as being named the Artist of the Decade of the 90s. He has won twenty-four Billboard Music Awards, one Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song and two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding in a Variety of Music Program, among others.
Brooks has nine released studio albums including a Diamond status for his self-titled debut album and for his CD Sevens, released in 1997. All of his other albums have reached Platinum status in the U.S. and a variety of certifications in Canada, the U.K. and Australia. In 2005, he released a statement that he was taking a hiatus from recording to spend more time with his family. Four years later, he announced the end of his retirement to begin performing on the Strip in Las Vegas. After his residency at the Wynn, where he performed, began to draw to a close in October of 2012, he claimed, when asked if he would make another comeback in 2014, “We’ll see…you know what’s in my heart and what I wanna do, but we just can’t say anything.”
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