In the realm of music, I think Garth Brooks is one of the most underrated artists in history. The biggest strike against him is that he’s a country singer. How many people listen to country? Not many. But what you should know is that Garth Brooks is the first solo artist in the history of the Recording Industry Association of America and Soundscan to sell a hundred million albums. To Brooks’ credit, he always confessed that Elvis should have had that distinction since Elvis lived in a time of fuzzy record keeping.
Garth reinvigorated country music – although, maybe not for the best. Garth brought new life into a genre that most people stereotyped as being hick music. He brought a rock edge and a new cool to the genre. If it weren’t for Brooks’ hybridization of country music, the genre may never have enjoyed the 90s resurgence that it did; artists like Faith Hill, Shania Twain and Kenny Chesney might never have become stars if it wasn’t for Brooks. He is currently in his self-imposed semi-retirement, but he still finds time to do many charity concerts and events. Here is my Top 5 Garth Brooks songs list, in tribute to my favorite singer.
1. “If Tomorrow Never Comes” (Garth Brooks) – Brooks wrote this song in honor of his then-wife Sandy for being there for him during the good times and the bad. It is his breakthrough hit, and helped catapult him into the mainstream.
2. “Baby Jesus Is Born” (Garth Brooks & The Magic Of Christmas) – On Garth’s second Christmas album, he sings an incredibly original tune in the spirit of both the Gospel and gospel music.
3. “You Move Me” (Sevens) – He is at his element in this simple, yet powerful tune about love, with great background vocals with Trisha Yearwood.
4. “The Thunder Rolls” (No Fences) – Garth’s most popular song deals with infidelity. The video for this song was groundbreaking and the song is still as powerful as it was over ten years ago.
5. “Alabama Clay” (Garth Brooks) – One of his most heartfelt songs, Garth sings about a man’s duty: to live, to dream, to provide and to love. Sometimes in life, one must make a choice to sacrifice one of his duties in order to do the right thing. Man, this sounds like Spider-man.
Honorable mention: The rest of the catalog. Everything is gold.
I love Garth Brooks, but he gets strike two for playing favorites with the devil (not Bill Gates, but Wal-Mart – Al Barger’s “Garth Brooks now a Wal-Mart only artist” article here).