The Evolution of Garth Brooks as a Recording Artist
There are few figures in country music who loom as large a Garth Brooks. Managing to infuse his country music heritage with rock ‘n roll flavor garnered him immense popularity, particularly in the 1990s when his live music performances became legendary. While Garth is still selling out concerts right and left, his legacy is secure thanks to his creation of a new audience for country music which has made him second only to The Beatles in terms of albums sold.
Born on February 7th, 1962 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Garth Brooks learned to play the banjo and guitar thanks to his parents emphasis on having their children participate in singing or creating skits. However, his early years were focused on playing baseball, football, and track. At Oklahoma State University, he received a track scholarship and graduated in 1984 with a degree in advertising.
Garth began playing professionally shortly after leaving college. While mostly influenced by rock artist, country music was the format where he excelled. Garth moved to Nashville in 1987 along with his first wife and started working the country music scene.
His first album, named Garth Brooks, became an instant success in 1989, garnering him massive attention in the country music community. Influenced by George Strait, several of the singles made it to the top 10 on the country charts and Garth was on his way.
Although his songwriting and singing made Brooks special, it was his live performances which mimicked that of rock artists that truly set him apart. A wireless headset, so he could run around on stage changed how country music live performances were done.
It was his second album, “No Fences: in 1990 which helped push Garth’s fame into popular territory. Propelled by several hit singles, it was “Friends in Low Places” which became his anthem. Suddenly, Garth was a country music superstar of the first order and drawing in massive crowds to his concerts.
The 1990s was truly the decade of Garth Brooks. His live music performances continued to sell out, even in places like the UK. Garth became a worldwide phenom, breaking record sales and becoming larger than life thanks in part to his Fresh Horses Tour of 1995, which pulled in 5.5 million in attendance.
Garth Brooks has managed to sell almost 150 million albums, making him the most popular solo artist in history, having surpassed Elvis. Seven of his albums have achieved diamond status, one more than The Beatles, which is 10 million units sold. In addition to his sales figures, Garth Brooks has also garnered many awards, including two Grammys, 17 American Music Awards, and for being the best-selling artists of solo albums for the 20th century.
All this is made even more remarkable when from 2001 to 2009 he stopped recording and performing live to spend more time with his family. Today, he is back to touring with his wife, Trisha Yearwood, and recording.
Today, Garth Brooks remains a dominant figure in country music. His concerts still sell out and his live music performances are just as powerful and exciting today as when he first burst upon the scene back in the late 1980s.