Birthplace: Tulsa, OK
Year of Grand Ole Opry Membership: 1990
Garth Brooks jump-started country music at the beginning of the decade, raising its
worldwide visibility and prestige to an unprecedented level, and going on to become
the biggest selling solo artist in U.S. music history, with over 62 million in sales.
He's also the fastest selling album artist in RIAA history and one of the industry's
most awarded, the latest nod coming from the Country Music Association when the
organization named him its 1997 Entertainer of the Year.
This year, he infused new energy into country when he played to the largest crowd
ever to attend a concert in New York's Central Park, a performance viewed by an
additional 14.6 million television audience. His 1997 tour has attracted well over
three million fans since Garth hit the road last March. What those statistics mean is
that enormous numbers of people are touched by what Garth Brooks loves to do:
It's clearly an example of how records should be made, too, where songs and
performances are the first priority, and time frame is a distant second, where
hurriedly finding ten tunes and booking studio time is not even a consideration.
Sevens was recorded over more than a year, giving Garth time to road test the
material, to add the musical nuances that make these tracks so uniquely tasty, and find songs
so representative of the artist's person.
"This is a very personal album," Garth adds. "I only wrote six of the songs, but
there are many that are so 'me' that people I work with every day thought I wrote
them." In addition to the personal nature of the album, there is an exciting variety to
Sevens, a diversity that expresses a myriad of sounds, emotions and stories. The
songs range from stone country honky tonkers to shimmering ballads to dark
reflections to lighthearted beach-flavored revelry.
While the end result is a seamless recording that moves effortlessly through the
fourteen songs, it didn't start out that way, according to Garth. "When I started
making this record, I was confused," Garth admits. "At that time I hadn't been
touring, and I came in wondering where I was going. Allen sensed that I was
questioning myself andbasically said, 'Okay, I'll drive.'"
They recorded over a period of a year, and although Garth soon regained his
confidence, Allen Reynolds (producer) continued in the driver's seat. "That's what I
love about him," Garth says. "He didn't back off what he'd started. He brought me
songs that were more 'me' than some I'd written myself. He pushed for fourteen
songs and the sequence you hear now."
Listening to Garth Brooks and Allen Reynolds talk music somehow makes the GB
sales phenomenon all the more enthralling. Ego is always checked at the door at a
Garth Brooks session. It's strictly about songs, musicians and a love for what is
being created. The man has always been about the music, and the music brought
the man success as few have ever experienced.
Just look at the album statistics: His debut album, Garth Brooks, released in 1989,
was the biggest selling country album of the 1980's. His sophomore outing, No
Fences, is the biggest selling country album of all time. Ropin' The Wind was the
third biggest, and the first album to debut at No. 1 on both the Billboard Top 200
Album chart and the Billboard Country Album Chart. The Chase and In Pieces
both entered the pop and country charts at No. 1. And Sevens made history before
it was even released. The debut single, "Long Neck Bottle," became the only single
to be added by every Radio & Records reporting station on the day of its release.
"Long Neck Bottle" debuted in the R&R chart at No. 10, the highest single debut in
Garth has made four NBC specials, all of which were overwhelming ratings
successes. The first special, This Is Garth Brooks, was filmed at Dallas' Reunion
Arena in September 1991. This Is Garth Brooks, Too! was filmed over the course
of three sold-out shows at Texas Stadium in Dallas in 1993, and that show gave
NBC its first time period win among adults (18-49) since August 1992. When The
Hits aired in January of 1995, it gave NBC its best adult rating in that time slot
since January 19, 1994. The behind-the-scenes documentary, Tryin' To Rope The
World, featured never-before seen footage of Garth's first European/Australian tour
In December of 1996, VH1 premiered Garth Brooks: Storytellers, as part of its
critically acclaimed singer/songwriter series. This intimate look into Garth and his
music doubled the ratings of shows featuring rock stars including Sting, Jackson
Browne, Elvis Costello and Melissa Etheridge.
Garth--Live From Central Park, first aired on August 7, 1997. The spectacular
was the most watched and highest rated original program on HBO in 1997, beating
all broadcast competition in the time period as well as three of the four networks
combined! The 1997 Super Bowl did not do as well. Based on HBO average
ratings, Garth--Live From Central Park was the most watched special on cable
television in 1997.
Along with the sales came awards including a Grammy, 11 American Music
Awards, 10 Country Music Association Awards, 14 Academy of Country Music
Awards, five World Music Awards, and eight People's Choice Awards, including
Favorite Male Musical Performer for the past six years. He was named Artist of the
'90s at the 1997 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards.
Given the past eight years of sales, awards and concert tickets, there's no doubt that
the numbers connected to Garth Brooks are formidable. But make no mistake
about this: in 1997 the one number that counts is Sevens.