Garth Brooks is a member of the esteemed class of ’89 (along with Clint Black, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Alan Jackson, and Travis Tritt). Over Garth’s twenty-five year career in the country music industry, he has released eight studio albums, as well as seven compilation and live albums, two holiday albums, three boxed sets, and one album as alter ego, Chris Gaines.
Tomorrow, Garth Brooks will be releasing his ninth album, which is also his first studio album in seven years. Man Against Machine will consist of fourteen tracks, including Garth’s new single “People Loving People,” and is one of the most anticipated albums of the year. The anticipation makes perfect sense, considering the extensive catalog of perfection that Garth has under his belt.
What better way than spend the eve of the Man Against Machine release than to take a look back at the twenty-five years in which Garth Brooks has been in our lives and reminisce about the hit after hit after hit that he has released over the course of his career? Let us begin.
In 1989, we were introduced to a young man named Garth Brooks when he released his self-titled premiere project. We were also introduced to his debut single “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old),” as well as his first Number 1 hit, “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” Following the success of this Number 1, Garth released “Not Counting You” (peaking at Number 2) and one of his most infamous tracks, “The Dance.”
Garth Brooks set the stage for this eventual country music legend, also ensuring that his sophomore album would be one for the books. No Fences came next, hitting the top spot of the charts, and ultimately selling over twenty-three million copies. Garth’s second offering is the one that brought us some of the most timeless music in his catalog: “Friends In Low Places;” “Unanswered Prayers;” “Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House;” and the early ’90s controversial smash hit “The Thunder Rolls.” Each of these four releases peaked at Number 1, later cementing themselves as permanent staples on all of Garth’s compilation albums. Uniquely, Garth released another single off this album nine years later (in 2000), “Wild Horses,” roping fans back in for a taste of his classic sound.
Speaking of roping in, continuing the trend of releasing one album per year, Ropin’ the Wind came next, creating a trifecta of hit albums for Garth. The third of his albums, which also took over the charts, was eventually certified platinum fourteen times in the United States. Ropin’ the Wind garnered five singles, “Rodeo;” “Shameless;” “What She’s Doing Now;” “Papa Loved Mama;” and “The River.” Three of the five peaked at Number 1, while the other two came up slightly short, finishing their runs at Number 3. This 1991 album proved to be chock full of greatest hits as well, making Garth’s third record one of his most beloved.
By the time Garth’s fourth album was released in 1992, he had proven himself to be one of the most adored country music superstars in the world…actually, in the history of the world. Making a statement with his first single of The Chase, Garth led the album off with “We Shall Be Free,” a meaningful song that moderately resonated with fans, but didn’t have the kind of impact Garth had previously experienced. Like any good cowboy, Garth didn’t stay down for long, releasing “Somewhere Other Than the Night,” and flying right back up the charts. He further followed up that hit with two more – “Learning to Live Again” and “That Summer.”
In 1993, King Midas came back with his gold … nahhh … platinum touch. His next Number 1 album was entitled In Pieces and gave us smash hit singles “Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up);” “American Honky-Tonk Bar Association;” “Standing Outside the Fire;” “One Night a Day;” and “Callin’ Baton Rouge.” With over fifteen million albums sold worldwide, Garth proved with his fifth record that he wasn’t going down at any point, even when the sun came up.
Garth’s sixth album, Fresh Horses, yielded the most singles from one album, has sold over twelve million copies worldwide and gave us six songs that we couldn’t get enough of on the radio. “She’s Every Woman” and “Beaches of Cheyenne” became Garth’s next Number 1’s on the chart, while “The Fever;” “The Change;” “It’s Midnight Cinderella;” “That ‘Ol Wind” didn’t fare as well on the charts, but found permanent places in fans’ hearts.
Garth’s seventh album, appropriately named Sevens, provided fans with a few party tunes that are still prevalent on tailgate, house party, and road trip playlists around the world. “Longneck Bottle” and “Two Pina Coladas” showed a side of Garth that country music and its fans warmly embraced, considering the subject of drinking is one that the genre often flocks toward. Both of these alcohol themed tracks soared to Number 1, while the third single off Sevens, “She’s Gonna Make It,” ran its course after reaching Number 2 and the final single, “You Move Me,” peaked at Number 3.
Garth’s 2001 album, Scarecrow, was the last new studio album that he released, with the exception of compilation albums and boxed sets. Scarecrow rose to Number 1 on the album charts, but didn’t enjoy the same type of single success. “When You Come Back to Me Again;” “Wrapped Up in You;” “Squeeze Me In” (featuring Trisha Yearwood); “Thicker Than Blood;” and “Why Ain’t I Running” became singles, the most successful of which was “Wrapped Up in You,” a tune that stopped climbing at Number 5.
Along with these eight albums, Garth also released The Hits; Double Live; The Lost Sessions; The Ultimate Hits; Beyond the Season; Garth Brooks and the Magic of Christmas; The Limited Series; boxed set Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences; and The Greatest Hits (as Chris Gaines). This collection of albums brought us “To Make You Feel My Love;” “It’s Your Song” (featuring Trisha Yearwood); “Good Ride Cowboy;” “Love Will Always Win” (featuring Trisha Yearwood); “That Girl Is a Cowboy;” “More Than a Memory;” “Workin’ for a Livin'” (featuring Huey Lewis); “Midnight Sun;” “Lost In You;” “It Don’t Matter to the Sun;” “Right Now;” and “That’s the Way I Remember It.”
Garth Brooks then “retired” in order to be an active part of his children’s lives, halting the release of new music, and later set up a residency in Las Vegas. It has been seven long years since “More Than a Memory” and “Workin’ for a Livin’,” but tomorrow, the wait is over. Man Against Machine marks the first time Garth will release a new album since 2007 and has already given us the meaningful lead single “People Loving People.” We are expecting a tremendous first week (heck, first day) of sales and are ecstatic that the man, the myth, the legend is back in our country music lives.
What is your favorite Garth Brooks song of all time? Let us know by leaving a comment here or tweeting us @CMchatLIVE.
And, Garth, welcome back! We have missed you dearly.
Follow me on Twitter @JenSwirsky
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