Garth Brooks Photography

Garth Brooks

Country music may have occasionally crossed over to the pop charts, but it wasn’t until Garth Brooks came along in the late 1980s that it became a full-fledged phenomenon. His self-titled debut burst out of the stables in 1989 with era-defining songs such as “The Dance” and “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” which propelled the singer/songwriter to playing arenas all across the globe.

The following year’s No Fences album proved even more iconic, selling more than 23 million copies on the strength of “Friends in Low Places” and cementing him as the decade’s ultimate superstar. In fact, by the end of the decade, he became the best-selling solo album artist in American history—beating even Elvis Presley—and landing right behind the Beatles on the overall list.

Through Brooks took a hiatus shortly after the new millennium to raise a family alongside wife/fellow country star Trisha Yearwood, he returned to the stage in 2009 with a Las Vegas residency. In 2014, he resumed his recording career with Man Against Machine and also kicked off an extensive world tour.

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