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Garth Brooks: Biography of the Country Singer

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Born February 7th, 1962 and raised in Yukon, Oklahoma, Garth Brooks became interested in music in university. He moved to Nashville to try his luck in the country scene and had his first successes after a few years. But Brooks truly became a star with his second album, which garnered him mainstream recognition and the chance to show off his performing skills. Though he released chart-topping work, he retired at the turn of the century. His gradual return to music began in 2009 with shows in Las Vegas. In this video, we take a look at the life and career of Garth Brooks.

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Growing Up

Troyal Garth Brooks was born February 7th, 1962 and raised in Yukon, Oklahoma. As a child, Brooks emulated his country singing mother by performing for his family.

Musical Interests and Nashville

In school, his interest shifted to sports. His javelin tossing skills even earned him a university scholarship. However, he soon became interested in music and started singing and playing guitar in bars. After earning his advertising degree and marrying his first wife, Brooks moved to Nashville in 1987 to be part of the country scene.

Eponymous Debut

Despite struggles, he released his self-titled debut under Capitol Records two years later. The album reached the second position on the country charts and generated his first two country number ones. Unfortunately, its moderate success was eclipsed by popular acts like Clint Black and Alan Jackson.

Mainstream Recognition with Sophomore Record and Touring

However, his next record set Garth Brooks apart and secured his place as a country icon. Within ten days of No Fences’ 1990 release, over 700 thousand copies were sold. It topped the country charts and won Brooks global recognition on the strength of many number one hits. Brooks showed off his flair for performance while touring for this effort: his shows blended the spectacle of classic rock shows with his boundless energy.

Number One on Pop and Country Charts

His third album did not disappoint: 1991’s Ropin’ the Wind was the first country record to debut at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, thanks to pre-order sales of over four million. Brooks then got into the holiday spirit on Beyond the Season.


Brooks peppered 1992’s The Chase with gospel sound and this proved unpopular with country purists. Though the album did top the charts, it didn’t sell like his previous work. Critics wondered if Brooks’ days at the top were numbered.

Chart-Topping Return to Country

To please fans, 1993’s In Pieces was pure country: it topped the pop and country charts and was supported by a world tour the following year. While the colossal success of his two previous albums was behind him, Brooks’ unique country twang still found mass appeal.


In 1994 Brooks also recorded a track with his rock idols KISS on the compilation Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved. He then issued two limited-release compilations.


1995’s Fresh Horses was another country number one. Though album sales quickly tapered off, Brooks embarked on a lengthy tour to secure his status as a megastar. This included a massive concert in Central Park.

More Number Ones

That show helped make his next album, Sevens, another number one on the pop and country charts. His duet with Trisha Yearwood also won him a Grammy. This was followed by two more number one releases: box set The Limited Series and live album Double Live.

Chris Gaines and “The Lamb”

After unsuccessfully trying out for the San Diego Padres baseball team, Brooks turned to film: he won the role of angst-ridden rocker Chris Gaines in “The Lamb.” To promote the movie, he began embodying the character in public and released Chris Gaines’ Greatest Hits in 1999. Audiences were baffled by Brooks’ sudden style shift, and the record sold poorly. “The Lamb” was then put on hold.

”Scarecrow” and Retirement

He bounced back professionally in 2000 when he was named the American Music Award Artist of the 90s; however, he also announced his impending divorce and retirement. His final Capitol record was 2001’s Scarecrow, which was another chart-topper.

Charity and Personal Life

Brooks spent the next years with his children. In 2005, he resurfaced for some charity performances, released a new box set called The Limited Series, and married Trisha Yearwood.

Compilations and Concerts

Two years later came the box set The Ultimate Hits, which featured the first song to ever premiere at the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, and several sold out concerts at Kansas City’s newly-opened Sprint Center.

Return to Performing

However, in 2009 his comeback slowly began: he started a special Vegas concert series that continued into 2012 and hinted at a return to touring.

Massive Success as Solo Country Artist

Garth Brooks is one of the United States’ most successful solo acts, and he brought country music to a mass audience. By mixing traditional honky tonk with rock and roll theatrics, Brooks sold over one hundred million albums and immeasurably altered the country rock scene.

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