This week’s artist spotlight focuses on a modern music legend, Garth Brooks. With nearly 150 million albums sold, Brooks is the world’s best-selling solo artist, surpassing the likes of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, and Billy Joel over the course of his 30-year career. He has not only smashed records and earned plenty of accolades, but his music has transcended time, which allows him to keep playing sold-out shows and gain fans across multiple generations.
Brooks was on top of the world in the 1990s, having released eight studio albums (including two holiday albums), seven of which topped the U.S. Country chart. He cemented his now-legendary place in country music with his induction into the Grand Ole Opry, while simultaneously breaking musical barriers by incorporating rock ‘n’ roll elements into his songs, therefore making him appealing to a much wider audience. For over a decade, he continuously churned out hit after hit, including “The Dance,” “Two Pina Coladas,” “Ain’t Going Down (Til the Sun Comes Up)” and his rousing, signature anthem “Friends in Low Places.”
The singer had embarked on two massive and monumentally successful world tours by the time he decided to retire from performing in 2001, a decision which both shocked and disappointed fans. Fast forward to 2009, when after years of intermittent appearances Brooks began his way back into the limelight by headlining a Las Vegas residency show, which ran for five years and proved he had not been forgotten in country music. He catapulted himself back onto the map by announcing his official comeback Garth Brooks World Tour, which is still going strong after three years and over 350 performances.
Brooks, who is joined on tour by wife and frequent collaborator Trisha Yearwood, is set to wrap up the final North American tour leg this summer, with stops in Los Angeles, Louisiana, and his home state of Oklahoma, though future tour dates overseas are currently in discussion. His years of retirement proved to be advantageous in the long-run, as his energetic concerts and latest album Gunslinger earned him the title of Entertainer of the Year at the 2016 CMA Awards, making him a record five-time recipient.
With more concerts on the horizon and plenty of hits to his name, it’s no doubt that Garth Brooks has, and will continue to shape and define country music, which poses the question if there will ever be another artist of his caliber to come along. For now, it’s time to enjoy this King of Country’s reign–he has most certainly earned it.