Troyal Garth Brooks was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma of February 7, 1962. He was raised in Yukon about one hundred miles away from Tulsa. Ray, his father, worked as a draughtsman for an oil company while his mother Colleen was a country singer in the 1950 s and appeared on radio and television show, as well as recording various recordings for Capital Records. Country music played a role in the Brooks’ household, but not a dominant one. But, by the time Garth was born, his mother had retired from a professional career and the Brooks’ house reverberated with as much rock and pop music as country.
Garth went to Yukon High School and played four sports: football, basketball, baseball and track. He went to college at Oklahoma State in Stillwater and no set plans for a music career. It was in 1984, when Garth realized that his sports career was not going anywhere, so he majored in advertising, took some marketing classes, and started to take music seriously. He began to perform in bars and honky-tonks around Stillwater. In the summer of 1985, he left for Nashville and a career in country music, but returned home four days later rejected. After, he joined a local band Santa Fe as the lead singer. During this time Garth became big fans of singer-writers James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg, rock bands Boston and Kansas, and country singer George Strait.
In 1986, Garth married Sandy Mahl. They met when Garth worked as a bouncer at a bar. Then in 1987, Garth, with his new wife, and Santa Fe, moved to Nashville. After recording many demos for publishers, Garth signed a writer’s contract in November of 1987 and soon after met Bob Doyle, who later became his manager. It was Doyle who paid the entry fee to a Bluebird Cafe. The performance at this Cafe earned Garth his first record deal with Capital Records. He then released his album Garth Brooks in 1989. This album gave no indication of what was in store for Garth down the road. During the next few years, Garth released a second album No Fences and a third, Ropin’ the Wind. The third album set a new record when on the day of the release in 1991, advance orders stood a four million and entered the pop charts at #1. At the same time, his first and second albums gained platinum status.
Even though Garth’s recordings had been successful, it was as an on-stage performer that Brooks has taken country music to a new high and reached out to a younger audience. He is very visual and rides a continual wave of energy in true rock rather than country. He runs around the stage, involves his fellow musicians in his crazy antics and really communicates with the fans. In 1991 and 1992, Garth concerts outsold every pop and rock act at the major American stadiums, setting new records for selling thousands of show tickets.
From 1992 through 1997, Garth released four more albums: The Chase, Beyond the Season, In Pieces, and The Hits, Fresh Horses and Sevens. He also continued to tour throughout the world. He went to Ireland in the spring of 1994 where an estimated 130,000 fans came to buy tickets. Garth continued to sell out stadiums with every concert he had since. In 1997 he played for the largest crowd to ever attend a concert in New York’s Central Park. It was also viewed by 14.6 million on television. Then in 1998 Garth released The Limited Series, which were re-releases of all his albums from 1989 through 1995, with one new song on each. Finally, after he finished his long running tour, he released his Double Live album. This album is compiled of songs from most of his live concerts. He then tried a rock style with the album In the Life of Chris Gains. He sings as a fictional person. The album sold more than two million copies. He then retired in 2000 but has plans on doing one more album.
Overall, Garth has won more than 60 major industry awards including 3 CMA Entertainer of the Year awards. His album sales topped 60 million worldwide, with two album certified Diamond (10 million certified sales), and ten certified multi-Platinum (one million certified sales).