Ropin’ the Wind
“There have been hundreds of people before me in this seat who will never be up here again and that's because the people were through with them, so I hope I can see it coming, so I can either retire gracefully and go out with some kind of class, I’ll be faced with that decision to either do that or either hang in for one more album and see what happens.” Garth Brooks
American country music singer-songwriter Garth Brooks has created a reputation as the biggest selling solo artist of all-time with album sales approaching more than 100 million units internationally. Since starting his professional career with Capitol Records in 1989, he has collected countless awards, including 2 Grammy Awards, 11 Country Music Association Awards, 18 Academy of Country Music Awards, 16 American Music Awards, 5 World Music Awards and 24 Billboard Music Awards, among others. As a music icon, Brooks has scored 18 No. 1 hits on Billboard magazine’s Hot Country Singles chart. His biggest hits include “The Dance” (1989), “Friends in Low Places” (1990), “The Thunder Rolls” (1990), “What She’s Doing Now” (1991), “Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up)” (1993) and “To Make You Feel My Love” (1997). A multi-million star, he is well-known for producing such highly successful albums as Garth Brooks (1989), No Fences (1990), the Grammy-winning Ropin’ the Wind (1991), Fresh Horses (1996) and Sevens (1997).
After announcing his retirement in 2000, one of the top entertainers of all-time, Brooks released Scarecrow in 2001 and netted a Golden Globe nomination for his contribution on 2000’s Frequency soundtrack, that same year. Now a Wal-Mart artist, he release a new CD in 2006 entitled The Lost Sessions, featuring the No. 1 hit “Good Ride Cowboy” and “Love Will Always Win,” a duet song with wife Trisha Yearwood. The latter brought Brooks a 2006 Grammy nomination.
Brooks is also a humanitarian. In 1991, he teamed up with country singers Randy Travis, Kenny Rogers and Kathy Mattea for a multi-artist project called Voices That Care to benefit the linked troops in the Gulf War. Eight years later, he set up the Teammates for Kids Foundation to provide financial aid to charities for children. He also actively participates in many other aid organizations and has donated at least $1 million to wildlife foundations.
On a more private note, the 6-foot-1-inch performer made headlines throughout the 1990s for his affair with fellow country star and longtime friend Trisha Yearwood. The two repeatedly denied the reports, claiming that although they had feelings for one another, they were never close while married to others. Brooks’ long-running marriage to Sandy Mahl eventually ended in separation in 2001, and he then married Yearwood in 2005. Brooks and Sandy share three daughters, Taylor, August and Allie.
Childhood and Family:
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Troyal Garth Brooks was born on February 7, 1962. His father, Troyal Raymond Brooks, was a draughtsman for an oil company and his mother, Colleen Carroll, was a country music singer in the 1950s. Raised in Yukon, Oklahoma, he was educated at Yukon High School, where he played any kinds of sports like football, baseball, and track and field. An excel javelin thrower, he enrolled at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater on a track scholarship and graduated with a degree in advertising in 1984.
While working as a bouncer at a nightclub in Stillwater, Brooks met Sandy Mahl, and they got married on May 24, 1986. The couple’s first daughter, Taylor Mayne Pearl Brooks, was born on July 8, 1992, and their second girl, August Anna Brooks, was born on May 3, 1994. They welcomed their third daughter, Allie Colleen Brooks, on July 28, 1996. In 2000, however, Brooks and his wife became estranged, and finally divorced on December 17, 2001. Brooks remarried on December 10, 2005, to country star Trisha Yearwood, in a very small, private wedding at their home in Oklahoma. The couple met in the late 1980s when Trisha sang opening on Brooks’ concert and became engaged on May 2005.
The Lost Sessions
Garth Brooks quit the professional sports dream and followed in his mother’s footsteps to pursue a career in music. Launching his professional singing career after college, the former bouncer found success as a local artist, performing in many clubs and bars in Oklahoma, but his attempt to gain more success in Nashville in 1985 was considered a failure. So, he returned to Oklahoma and got married in 1986. With his new bride and his band, the Stillwater, Oklahoma-based rock band Santa Fe, Brooks once again tried his luck in Nashville in 1987 that resulted in a meeting with future manager Bob Doyle and a writer’s contract. It was not until he performed in a talent contest that Brooks got his break as he caught the attention of A Capitol Records scout, who soon signed him with the record label.
A year after signing to Capitol Records, Brooks came to the public notice with the release of his impressive self-titled debut album, Garth Brooks, in 1989. The album reached No. 2 on the US country album charts and went on to become a multi-platinum seller, thanks to such hits as the melancholic single “The Dance,” “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)” and “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” Garth Brooks finally earned the status of becoming the most triumphant country album of the 1980s. Kicking of the 1990s, Brooks scored another success with the multi-platinum No Fences (1990), which became a No. 1 hit on the Billboard country music chart for the consecutive 23 weeks. With worldwide sales of over 20 million copies, the album became Brooks’ biggest-selling album, cementing his reputation as the biggest selling solo artist in history. Four singles from No Fences, “Friends in Low Places,” “The Thunder Rolls,” “Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House” and “Unanswered Prayers” were all the chart-toppers.
Brooks received even more recognition in the following year with the Grammy-winning Ropin’ the Wind, a blending of soft rock and country, which created history for being the first LP to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s pop and country charts. With brilliant presentations on the hits Billy Joel’s “Shameless,” “What She’s Doing Now” and “The River,” the album netted a number of Academy of Country Music awards, American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Country Music Association and a Grammy, as well as becoming his next-best selling album after No Fences. The same year, he starred on the NBC variety special “This Is Garth Brooks” and appeared as himself in an episode of the sitcom “Empty Nest” (1991).
The Chase, Brooks’ fourth album, was released in 1992, featuring the lead single “We Shall Be Free,” an expression of his desire for tolerance of all kinds following the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. Despite frequently earning standing ovations when performed in concert, the song, however, only peaked at No. 12 on the country chart, Brooks’ worst presentation up to now. With the release of the album’s next two singles that both peaked at No. 1, The Case eventually was a massive hit. This was followed by an immediate No. 1 hit album, In Pieces, in 1993, a greatest hits album, The Hits, in 1995, and the multi-platinum chart-topping Fresh Horses in 1996. During that same period, Brooks charmed his fans by conducting many successful concerts on both America and the U.K, and making numerous television and radio appearances. Brooks’ Sevens was released in November 1997 and debuted at No. 1 upon its release. By the holiday season, it had received multi-platinum status. The album also broke Brook’s own record by having 12 out of 14 tracks on the single charts. “To Make You Feel My Love,” the hit single from the album, was included in the soundtrack of the romance film Hope Floats.
Already popular as male country singer, Brooks branched out to pop music and released an album under the name of his alt-rock alter ego Chris Gaines. In... The Life of Chris Gaines hit the music stores in 1999, but was regarded as a major commercial flop, not to mention the success of the single “Lost in You.” Despite this fail attempt, Brooke was named by Recording Industry Association of America as the best-selling solo artist of the 20th century in America. He also received Artist of the Year and Artist of the Decade honors from Academy of Country Music as well as Artist of the Decade tribute from the American Music.
In October 2000, Brooks announced his retirement from performing and recording. That same night, Capitol Records held a lavish salutation party at Nashville’s Gaylord Entertainment Center for Brooks’ achievement of selling 100 million albums in America. A year later, in November 2001, the successful country singer revisited the country world with the release of Scarecrow. Though it did not sell as well as his glory days, the album was well-received by his fans and became a No. 1 hit on both the pop and country charts. Also in 2001, “When You Come Back to Me Again,” Brooks’ contribution to the movie Frequency (2000) soundtrack, netted a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song - Motion Picture.
In August 2005, it was stated that Brooks had penned a contract with Wal-Mart, and a boxed set entitled The Limited Series was released three months later. It sold over 500,000 copies on its day of release and went on to reach 1 million by the first week in December. Meanwhile, he could be seen performing John Fogerty’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain” with wife Yearwood on the Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast nationwide telethon for Hurricane Katrina relief in September, and singing lively “Good Ride Cowboy” in Times Square in New York City in November, as part of that year’s Country Music Association Awards show. In early 2006, Brooks again collaborated with Yearwood for the top 40 duet “Love Will Always Win” that was included as an extra track for Brooks’ The Lost Sessions album. For his fine effort, he picked up a 2006 Grammy nomination for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals.