Garth Brooks is one of the best-selling country music singers. Born Troyal Garth Brooks on February 7, 1962, he is the youngest child of Troyal Raymond Brooks, a draftsman for an oil company, and Colleen Carroll, a 1950s-era country singer. His talents were polished since he was a kid as young Brooks in the family's weekly talent nights.
He studied advertising at Oklahoma State University but ended up pursuing a career as a singer due to his strong passion for music. He played in Oklahoma clubs and bars until 1985 when he met entertainment attorney Rod Phelps. Thanks to the lawyer's encouragement and contact in Nashville, Brooks moved to the state in hopes to get a record deal.
But he returned to Oklahoma after only 24 hours in Nashville. A year after he married Sandy Mahl in 1986, he was back to Nashville and began making contacts in music industry. He got his big break almost immediately after releasing his first eponymous album in 1989. It peaked at No. 2 on Country Albums chart and climbed to No. 13 on Billboard Hot 200.
His second album was a bigger one. Released a year later, "No Fences" shot to No. 1 on Country Albums and soared to No. 3 on Hot 200. He became a member of Grand Ole Opry since then. He was unstoppable with his third effort "Ropin' the Wind". Coming out in 1991, it ruled Hot 200 becoming the first No. 1 country album on the chart.
"The Chase" was released next in 1993. Though it couldn't match its predecessors' successes, its single "We Shall Be Free" earned him a GLAAD Media Award and another song "That Summer" was an instant No. 1 hit. The follow-up album "In Pieces" in 1994 brought him back to the top of the charts, despite his feud with some music stores which he criticized for selling used CDs.
Mid-1990 marked his pop crossover beginning with album "Fresh Horses" which was a big success in the U.S. It featured "In Another's Eye", his collaboration with fellow country music crooner Trisha Yearwood who would later became his wife after he divorced from Mahl in 2000.
Following his success of crossing the bridge to pop, Brooks tried his hands at acting in 1999. He starred as a country music singer named Chris Gaines in Paramount's "The Lamb". To create a buzz, he took on the identity of Gaines in his 1999 album "Garth Brooks in ... The Life of Chris Gaines", which was intended as a 'pre-soundtrack' to the film.
Unfortunately, the album didn't go well prompting the movie project to get canned. Still, Brooks was praised by critics for taking risk. His acting failure led a retirement announcement in 2000. His final album "Scarecrow" was released in 2001. Although it didn't match his previous hits, it still managed to get notable spots on the chart and on the critics. During his absence, hit compilations were released sporadically under exclusive deal with Wal-Mart.
He was back from long hiatus in 2009 with weekend performances in Las Vegas. It got positive reviews and was extended until late 2012 where he was inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame. A six-CD compilation "Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences" was released in November 2013 with a bunch of his singles on it. It performed well debuting at No. 1 on Hot 200, making it a good promotion for his upcoming 2014 comeback tour.