Garth Brooks Biography
Garth Brooks was born February 7, 1962) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the youngest of six children in Yukon, Oklahoma. His father Troyal Brooks worked as a draughtsman for an oil company, while his mother Colleen Carroll was a country music singer on the Capitol Records label in the 1950s and also a regular on the Red Foley Show. Even as a child, Brooks was interested in music, often singing in casual family settings, but his primary interest was athletics. In high school he played football and baseball and ran track. After graduation from high school, he attended Oklahoma State University in Stillwater on a track scholarship as a javelin thrower. Despited discontinuing his participation in the sport, he still graduated in 1984 with a degree in advertising.
Later that year, Brooks began his professional music career, singing and playing guitar in Oklahoma clubs and bars, particularly the Tumbleweed in Stillwater. After a failed 1985 24-hour trip to Nashville to gain a record contract , Brooks returned to Oklahoma and in 1986, married Sandy Mahl of Owasso , Oklahoma , whom he had met while working as a bouncer . The following year, the couple moved to Nashville, and Brooks was able to begin making contacts in the music industry.
While struggling to be noticed by industry executives, Brooks frequently recorded demo records for songwriter Kent Blazy. Blazy introduced Brooks to Trisha Yearwood , another aspiring country singer, in October 1987. The pair became friends and pledged to help each other in their careers. Brooks achieved success first, signing a recording contract with Capitol Records in 1988. Keeping his promise, in 1991, he invited Yearwood to be the opening act on his tour.
The Success Begins
Garth Brooks' eponymous first album, Garth Brooks , was released in 1989 and was a critical and chart success. It peaked at #2 in the US country album chart and reached #13 on the Billboard 200 pop album chart. Most of the album was traditionalist country, influenced in part by George Strait . The first single ahead of it was "Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old", a country top 10 success. It was followed by his first well-known song, " If Tomorrow Never Comes ", which was his first country #1. "Not Counting You" reached #2, and then " The Dance " put him at #1 again; this song's theme of people dying in the course of doing something they believe in resonated strongly and together with a popular music video gave Brooks his first push towards a broader audience. Brooks has also claimed that of all the songs he has recorded, "The Dance" is his favorite.
The album No Fences followed in 1990 . It reached #1 on the Billboard country music chart (staying there for 23 weeks) and #3 on the pop chart, and would go on to become Brooks' biggest-selling album, with domestic sales of over 16 million records. It contained what would become Brooks' signature song , the blue collar anthem " Friends in Low Places ", as well as two other Brooks classics, the dramatic and controversial " The Thunder Rolls " and the philosophically ironic " Unanswered Prayers ". Also a hit was the affectionate "Two of a Kind, Workin' on a Full House"; all four of these songs hit #1 on the country chart.
While Brooks' music was definitely in the country idiom, he had also absorbed a sensibility from the 1970s singer-songwriter movement, especially James Taylor (whom he idolized and named his first child after) and Dan Fogelberg . Similarly, Brooks was influenced by the operatic rock of the 1970s-era Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen . In his highly successful 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
Dominance - United States & Around The World
Brooks' third album, Ropin' the Wind , released in September 1991, had advance orders of 4 million copies and entered the pop album charts at #1, a first for a country act. Ropin' the Wind' s music was a melange of pop country and honky-tonk ; hits included Billy Joel's "Shameless", "What She's Doing Now", and "The River". All told, it became his second-best selling album after No Fences . The success of this album further propelled the sales of his first two albums, enabling Brooks to occupy the top two spots in the pop album chart. Brooks's record sales and concert attendance were extremely high, and by those two markers he was at the time the biggest artist in popular music, a first for a primarily country singer.
After spending time in Los Angeles during the 1992 riots , Brooks co-wrote the gospel-country-tock hybrid " We Shall Be Free " to express his desire for tolerance. The song became the first single off his fourth album The Chase . With its message of support for gay rights, the song met with resistance from country radio stations and from the culturally conservative country audience, and only reached #12 on the country chart, his first song in three years to fail to make the top 10. Nevertheless, the song often received standing ovations when performed in concert, went to #22 in the Christian charts through a marketing deal with Rick Hendrix Company, and earned Brooks a 1993 GLAAD Media Award .
In 1993 , Garth Brooks, who had criticized music stores which sold used CDs since it led to a loss in royalty payments, persuaded Capitol Records not to ship his August 1993 album In Pieces to stores which engaged in such practices. This led to several anti-trust lawsuits against the record label and ended with Capitol shipping the CDs to the stores after all. 
Despite the delay in shipping the album to certain stores, In Pieces was another instant number 1 success, selling a total of about 10 million copies world-wide. Some of his fans were upset, however, that the album was not released simultaneously around the world.
Despite the disdain of the British media, Brooks's 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 as an icon of the country genre. Unlike Alan Jackson , who refused to return to the UK after being treated in a similar manner by the press, Brooks returned in 1996 for more sold-out concerts, although this time his media appearances were mostly restricted to country radio and interviews with magazines.
Elsewhere in the world Brooks was also considered a star, and he enjoyed hit records and sell-out tours in countries including Ireland , Spain , throughout Europe , Brazil , the Far East , New Zealand , and Australia .
One of the later peaks in Brooks' fame came on August 7 , 1997 , when he gave a free concert in New York City 's Central Park , drawing hundreds of thousands of people in a city that many would say is far removed from the country music world. Estimates of the actual crowd size varied considerably, from 250,000 to 750,000 or even higher, primarily because many people were enjoying the show from outside the full-to-capacity venue. Brooks himself has estimated the crowd at close to 900,000. An additional 14.6 million viewers watched the performance live on HBO .  Billy Joel and Don McLean made guest appearances. After showing that he still had the ability to draw such a large crowd, it was not surprising that Brooks won the award for the ACM Entertainer of the Year in 1998.
Brooks's final album, Scarecrow was released November 13 , 2001 . The album did not match the sales levels of Brooks's heyday, but still sold comfortably well, reaching #1 on both the pop and country 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, Allie, turned 18. Despite ceasing to record new material between 2002 and (most of) 2005, Brooks continued to chart with previously recorded material, including a top 30 placing for "Why Ain't I Running" in 2003 .