The King of Country Music
Garth Brooks is undoubtedly one of the most successful and influential country music artists of all time. Born Troyal Garth Brooks on February 7, 1962 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Brooks showed an early interest in music, singing in local bars and clubs during high school. After briefly attending Oklahoma State University on a track scholarship, Brooks moved to Nashville in 1985 to pursue a career in music full-time.
Brooks’ musical style blended neotraditionalist country with a rock music flair. His self-titled debut album was released in 1989 and reached #2 on the Billboard country charts on the strength of singles like “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old).” However, it was Brooks’ sophomore album No Fences in 1990 that propelled him to stardom. No Fences featured the massive hits “Friends in Low Places,” “Unanswered Prayers” and “The Thunder Rolls,” spending 23 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.
Over the course of the 1990s, Brooks released phenomenally successful albums like Ropin’ the Wind, The Chase, In Pieces and Fresh Horses. He incorporated elements of rock, pop and arena anthems into his music, helping to bring country music to a much wider mainstream audience. Brooks also innovated the concept of doing multi-night stadium shows, an approach since adopted by many other superstar performers. He has sold over 150 million records worldwide, making him the best-selling solo artist in the United States.
Some key awards and honors achieved by Brooks over his illustrious career include 2 Grammy awards, 17 American Music awards, 11 CMA Awards, 17 ACM Awards and induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012.
Though Brooks retired from recording and performing for much of the 2000s, he returned in 2014 with the album Man Against Machine. He continues to be a major concert draw and influence within country music and popular culture. With his unmatched record sales, pioneering stadium tours and ability to expand the genre’s appeal, Garth Brooks’ impact on country music cannot be overstated.