This is Garth Brooks: Reflections of a Megastar


By any measure, Garth Brooks is one of the most popular music artists of all time. After making his debut in 1989, the country singer went on to dominate the 1990s before retiring in 2000. In the process, Garth not only changed the perception of country music, he transformed the recording industry as a whole.

In July of 2014, Brooks announced he was ending his retirement. Since that time, he has continued his stranglehold over the genre. Garth simply has no parallel in popularity. As stated by the Country Music Hall of Fame, Brooks’ record sales exceed “157 million and climbing, making him the top-selling solo artist in history.”

Garth is the only artist to have 9 Diamond albums (sales of 10,000,000 copies). His 7 Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year awards are most all-time. He is also the youngest ever recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song and a 2021 Kennedy Center honoree. In an industry full of stars, none shine brighter than Brooks. Yet he remains devoted to what is most important to him. This is Garth Brooks…reflections of a megastar.


“Music is truly the voice of hope”

“What I love about music most is that it’s forever there. It can be 3 a.m. when no one else wants to talk to you and music will speak to you. Or it will listen. Or it will play along with you… I can’t help but wonder if music is truly the voice of hope. It’s certainly a monster of a weapon for us to use to bring people together.”

“I don’t care what people as a whole think of me”

“I’m not running for president, so I don’t care what people as a whole think of me as an artist. What I care about is, is this music that I’m getting to be a part of changing somebody’s life for the better? If you start trying to please everybody, then you’re just going to water yourself down.”

“The Dance”

“We almost didn’t cut ‘The Dance’ because I was scared it wasn’t country enough. [Producer] Allen Reynolds said, ‘If you don’t cut The Dance, it will be the biggest hit you never had’…Unless I am totally surprised, ‘The Dance’ will be the greatest success as a song we will ever do. I’ll go to my grave with ‘The Dance’. It’ll probably always be my favorite song.”

“The first time that it ever hit me”

After being asked when he finally felt he had “made it”, Garth states, “Coming out of the hole at Central Park, seeing all those people. I’m going, ‘Holy crap.’ That was the first time that it ever hit me. That there was something going on that might’ve been a little more than what you dreamed of…I think that was the day [the band and I] kind of looked at each other and went, ‘Wow.’ But it’s still the same guys — a bunch of misfits out of Oklahoma and Kansas.” Brooks’ 1997 concert in New York’s Central Park is estimated to have drawn just shy of one million people according to the N.Y. Fire Department.

“I don’t buy into it”

When asked about his revered place in music history, Garth replies, “I don’t buy into it. They’ll put your name in the same breath with The Beatles and Elvis and I’m not anywhere near in whatever that group is. So, everyone else can talk about it. But I don’t believe it. I feel lucky that I get to play, and all I can control is the music and how it’s presented.”

“Friends in Low Places”

Released in 1990, “Friends in Low Places” introduced Brooks to superstardom. “Would I have ever dreamed it would be what it was? No. That thing is almost like — and forgive me if this sounds egotistical — a franchise song, like ‘Margaritaville’ was to Jimmy Buffett. I just feel very lucky, because it went through hell or high water.” This song remains a country staple and one of Garth’s signature tunes.

“We’re going to go see Garth”

“If we get through a show with no mistakes and played it safe, I don’t want that show. I really don’t. No one ever says, ‘Were going to go listen to Garth tonight.’ What they say is, ‘We’re going to go see Garth.’ So I tell the band, ‘If you try something, make a mistake and bust your ass and end up on the floor, that’s what they’ll remember.’ They’ll remember that more than that gorgeous B-Flat Minor that you played”.

“That’s what a concert is all about”

“Giving people a picture, a memory—that’s what a concert is all about. When people take those pictures of you standing on top of the piano playing a sax solo, they say, ‘I got it! I got that shot!’ Or flying out over the crowd on a rope—they shoot that. They take those things home with them.”   


First released by legend Billy Joel in 1989, “Shameless” was considered a supplementary track. Two years later, Garth Brooks covered the tune for his third studio album, Ropin’ the Wind. Brooks says, “I was scared to death ‘Shameless’ was going to be too not country for country and, man, country radio ate it up. I was really surprised.” Garth’s version of the song became his seventh #1 hit and continues to be a highlight of his live shows.

“One hell of a ride”

“I’m not at the controls of this machine. I like to think that the people and the good Lord are more probably in that seat. But there is one thing I can tell you, if what I’m on is the road of life, it’s one hell of a ride. Thanks for it, and God bless you.”

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