25 years ago today (April 12, 1989), neither Garth Brooks nor anyone else could have anticipated how much the music world was about to change. It was on this day that the singer released his self-titled debut album, marking the beginning of one of the most successful careers of all time in country music reports The Boot.
The Oklahoma native was already storming up the charts with the first single from the album, ‘Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old),’ which became his first Top 10 hit. His freshman record spawned three more Top 10 singles, including the follow-up single, ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes,’ which became his first No. 1 hit.
Brooks, who co-wrote five of the ten songs on the record, admits he had no idea how much his life would be impacted by his freshman project.
” [I was] definitely scared to death,” he acknowledges. “I thought the album was very, very innocent. And I gotta be truthful with you, every time I hear those songs off the radio or off the album itself, or even when we play them live, I really get that same kind of scared feeling that I had way back in 1988, and 1989.”
The fourth and final single from ‘Garth Brooks’ was ‘The Dance,’ which stayed at the top of the charts for three weeks, and became one of the biggest singles of his career. The tune’s accompanying video included appearances by several people who perished living the proverbial dream, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Keith Whitley and the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger.
All of Brooks’ seven follow-up albums also earned multi-platinum status, with each one selling at least five million units. ‘Garth Brooks’ became his first diamond-certified record, signifying sales in excess of ten million units.
The Country Music Hall of Fame member went on to sell more than 69 million albums, making him the best-selling albums artist in history, handily beating the second-place act, the Beatles, by more than five million albums sold.
Brooks, whose estimated sales worldwide exceed 200 million units, retired in 2001, shortly after the release of his last studio album, ‘Scarecrow.’ He subsequently released four compilation albums, including his 2013 boxed set, ‘Blame It All On My Roots: Five Decades of Influences,’ which debuted at No. 1. But the singer-songwriter says he still traces much of his success to his first record.
“That first album is always a big one for any artist,” he notes. “Without trying to sound egotistical, I’m very proud of my first one.”