Brooks recorded his first album with producer Allen Reynolds at the end of 1988; the self-titled debut appeared early in 1989. The album was an instant success, with its first single, ‘Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old),’ climbing into the country Top Ten. Garth’s debut was a success, crossing over into the pop album charts.
Garth Brooks had three other hit singles — the number one ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes,’ the number two ‘Not Counting You,’ and the number one ‘The Dance’ — but it was his second album, No Fences, that established him as a superstar. No Fences was released in the fall of 1990, preceded by the massive hit single ‘Friends in Low Places.’ No Fences spent 23 weeks at the top of the country charts and sold 700,000 copies within the first ten days of its release. Throughout 1990 and 1991, Brooks had a string of number one country hits from the album, including ‘Unanswered Prayers,’ ‘Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House,’ and ‘The Thunder Rolls.’ By 1993, No Fences would sell over ten million copies.
Ropin’ the Wind, Brooks’ third album, was released in September of 1991 and became the first country record to debut at the top of the pop charts. Ropin’ the Wind matched the success of No Fences, selling over ten million copies within its first two years of release and spawning the number one hit singles ‘Shameless,’ ‘What She’s Doing Now,’ and ‘The River.’
By the end of 1991, Brooks had become a genuine popular music phenomenon — even his 1992 Christmas album, Beyond the Season, went multi-platinum — and there were no signs of his momentum slowing down. Naturally, his forthcoming album, The Chase debuted at number one upon its October 1992 release and by the end of the year, it sold over five million copies. Nevertheless, that number was half the size of the figures for his two previous albums and there was speculation in the media that Brooks’ career had already peaked.
Sensing that he was in danger of losing his core audience, Brooks returned to straight country with 1993’s In Pieces. The album was critically acclaimed and sold several million copies.
The Hits, which was only available for a year, was released in the fall of 1994 and would eventually sell over eight million albums. Brooks released Fresh Horses, his first album of new material in two years, in November of 1995; within six months of its release, it had sold over three million copies. Brooks decided to push his seventh album, appropriately titled Sevens, very hard to confirm his superstar status. Originally, it was scheduled to be released in August of 1997, when he would promote it with a huge concert in Central Park.
Brooks eased into retirement, spending the next few years quietly and not resurfacing in the public eye until he had a busy 2006 when he struck a deal with Wal-Mart to become the exclusive retailer for his back catalog.