Brooks, Garth

Brooks, Garth , 1962- , American country singer/songwriter, b. Luba, OK, Oklahoma State Univ. (B.A., 1984). Brooks's mother was a country singer who performed in their native Oklahoma on recordings and radio. Brooks's performing career began in high school and continued in college, with him playing local clubs. In 1987, he went to Nashville, attracting the attention of producer Allen Reynolds. His first album was successful, but the follow up, No Fences (1990), established himself as a country superstar; it remained on the pop charts for over a year. His third album, Ropin' the Wind (1991), entered the pop charts in the Number 1 position, the first country album ever to do so. Brooks's hit singles from these albums combined country ballads ("If Tomorrow Never Comes," "The River"), with neo-honky tonk ("Friends in Low Places"), and social-commentary songs like "The Thunder Rolls." Brooks's concerts took on the trappings of arena rock, featuring sets with huge ramps and special effects, including pyrotechnics. In the early '90s, Brooks continued to alternate social-commentary songs ("We Shall Be Free," 1992) with high energy honky-tonk numbers like "American Honky Tonk Bar Association" (1993). Brooks's career sagged in the mid-‘90s, with his 1997 album, Sevens, his last major success. In 1999, Brooks decided to record an album of “greatest hits” by an alter ego named "Chris Gaines." The result was a major career fiasco; despite a TV special and heavy promotion, the album was a major flop. After announcing his retirement from performing in 2000, Brooks released Scarecrow in autumn 2001. Brooks remained retired, appearing only for special performances, until fall 2009, when he announced his first residency in Las Vegas. He issued a few new albums in the 2010s and also continues to tour and play extended engagements in Vegas. After divorcing his first wife, Brooks wed country singer Trisha Yearwood in 2005.

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