Is there a bigger name in country music than Garth Brooks? The country singer is a Nashville god. A titan of the recording industry. A member of both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Garth Brooks' name is, at this point, mentioned with the likes of Elvis Presley, George Strait, and almost no one else. Few other music careers are on the same level. Like Elvis before him, Garth Brooks is one of the few artists today who can announce a world tour and sell it out the next day.
In honor of one of the most celebrated and beloved American music solo artists and singer-songwriters of all time, here are six fun facts about Garth Brooks.
1. His First Name isn't Garth
Garth Brooks' real first name isn't Garth -- it's Troyal. That's right, Brooks' full name is Troyal Garth Brooks. The country star is named after his father.
2. Garth Brooks is actually a REALLY talented athlete.
Some people just have it all, apparently. Not you or I, but some people. Garth Brooks is one of those people. Before he was being signed by Capitol Records or dominating the Billboard charts, Brooks received a track scholarship to throw the javelin at Oklahoma State University.
Brooks was also, for a short time, (sort of) a professional baseball player. He played with the San Diego Padres during spring training in 1998 and 1999. The next year Brooks played with the New York Mets. In 2004, he played spring training again for the Kansas City Royals, during which he recorded his only hit, off pitcher Mike Myers.
3. He has a musical alter ego.
His name is Chris Gaines and he's... a little weird. Gaines was a rock and roll character portrayed by Brooks in the film The Lamb, but Brooks also released an album as Gaines entitled Garth Brooks in... The Life of Chris Gaines. Brooks hosted Saturday Night Live as himself in 1999 while performing musical guest duties as Chris Gaines. Despite everyone thinking Brooks moonlighting as an emo rock star was weird, the Chris Gaines album did surprisingly well on the pop charts. It's all weird. It's better to forget. Sorry for even bringing it up, actually.
4. Brooks is married to another country star.
After divorcing his first wife and college sweetheart Sandy Mahl in 2000, Brooks eventually fell in love all over again with country singer Trisha Yearwood. The pair married in 2005.
5. Garth Brooks was the first country artist to open number one.
Brooks' third album, Ropin' the Wind, sold 4 million copies before it was even released and opened at number one on the Billboard 200 charts. He was the first country music artist to ever achieve the feat. He accomplished the feat again with his country albums Sevens. His albums Double Live, In Pieces, and Scarecrow also reached number one on the Billboard 200 charts, though it didn't open there.
6. His Mom was a country singer too.
This article was originally published in September 2019.