Tuesday 21 May 2019

13 things you need to know Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks visits Croke Park today to promote his gigs next July
Garth Brooks visits Croke Park today to promote his gigs next July
Garth Brooks will play Croke Park stadium, Dublin in July
Garth Brooks has sold more than 68m albums
Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood...Country music entertainers Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood wait on the sideline before the start of the World Football Challenge soccer match between Chelsea and Club America on Sunday, July 26, 2009, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Mike Stone)...S
Garth Brooks proposes to Trisha Yearwood in California...Country western singer Garth Brooks proposes to Trisha Yearwood at Buck Owen's Crystal Palace on May 25, 2005 in Bakersfield, California. NO SALES REUTERS/Kevin Parry/Handout...E
The late TV presenter Paula Yates
From l to r: Garth Brooks, Robbie Keane, Claudine Keane, unknown, Trisha Yearwood and Ronan Palmer pose for a picture at Wynn's Hotel in Las Vegas Pic: Twitter/Claudine Keane

It's been 17 years since Garth last played Ireland - so here's ten things you might have forgotten or may never have known about the country singer.

* Garth Brooks last played Ireland in May 1997. More than 130,000 Irish fans packed into Croke Park over two nights to see him play.

* Garth promised to come back to Ireland soon afterwards - but in 2001, he shocked the music world when he announced his retirement.

* He announced he was putting his career on the backburner until his youngest daughter was of college-going age. When he announced his decision, the 51-year-old was a global superstar. You may not be a country fan but you've definitely heard of 'If Tomorrow Never Comes', 'Frends in Low Places' and 'The Thunder Roll'.

* Garth released his first album in 1989 - it was a breakout success, reaching No 13 in the US charts. It also scored him his first country No 1 - 'If Tomorrow Never Comes'.

* His second album 'No Fences' was released a year later and spent 23 weeks as No 1 on the Billboard country music chart. The album also reached No 3 on the pop chart - it would go on to become Brooks' highest-selling album. This album contained two classics - 'Friends In Low Places' and 'The Thunder Roll'

* 'Ropin' the Wind' was his third album and released in September 1991 and it entered the pop charts at No 1 - a first for a country act. It was his second biggest album - but it propelled sales of his first two albums and this meant Brooks had three albums in the pop charts top 20.

* Album 'In Pieces' followed in 1993. Despite Brooks' massive success in the US, he was still considered 'niche' in markets outside of America.

In 1994, he decided to go on tour in the UK to support the album. An infamous appearance on Channel 4 programme 'The Big Breakfast' alongside Paula Yates and Chris Evans ensued.

Yates told Brooks that, "Country singers always seem to be weeping over the dead dog and things," and also remarked, "I thought you'd come in here and twiddle your pistol around and be impressed." The programme and channel received scores of complaints about the interview. Brooks merely observed that Paula didn't seem to know much about pop music.

In Ireland, Pat Kenny interviewed him - and we Irish subsequently took him to our hearts.

*We struggled to find any high-profile Garth Brooks fans - but Minister for Environment Phil Hogan told local radio station KCLR earlier today that he was a big fan of Brooks shortly. Big Phil made the admission just after Brooks announced his return to Ireland - no doubt we'll be seeing the minister at Croke Park.

*Another high-profile fan is Ireland's record goal-scorer Robbie Keane. The Ireland captain, his wife Claudine and her brother Ronan went to a Garth Brooks concert in Vegas in November 2012. Garth and his wife Trisha Yearwood posed with Robbie and Claudine for a pic afterwards.

Incidentally, Robbie was filmed singing 'If Tomorrow Never Comes' in October 2011 while on a night out in Gibney's Pub in Malahide.

* In 1999, Garth Brooks became 'Chris Gaines' and adopted an EMO style type haircut. Apparently it was for a film project about a singer. To help garner publicity for the project, Garth become Chris in real-life and released an album as him. It was considered to be some pre-fillm documentary - so this is where Disney chiefs drew inspiration for Hannah Montana.

Anyway it didn't work - Brooks was praised by critics for trying something different but the plug was pulled on the project and Chris Gaines is now nothing more than just a bizarre footnote.

*In 1986 Garth married first wfie Sandy and was devoted to her and their three daughters.

So there was much shock when he and Sandy divorced in 2001. Sandy subsequently remarried. After his divorce came through, Garth started dating fellow country superstar Trisha Yearwood, singer of 'How Do I Live'. The pair married in 2005.

*Even though he was retired, Brooks was occasionally coaxed out of his self-inflicted exile for one-off events. These were normally for charities.

He is noted for his generosity to various children's charities and famine relief organisations. He was also involved in fundraising for Haiti.

*He did come out of retirement in 2009 for a weekend concerts in Las Vegas at Wynn's Hotel. He continued doing this until 2012 - the concerts were praised by critics. He also played a number of fundraising concerts outside of Vegas.

The residency came to an end in 2012 - when asked by fans if he would be touring in 2014, he told them he would wait and see. Famously, he once told fans that he would take to the road again once his youngest daughter was in college - now that time has come and Irish fans can't wait.


Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section