Until Garth Brooks rolled onto the scene, country musicians were rarely compared to international giants like Elvis and the Beatles. Garth Brooks is not only the most successful country musician of all time, but he’s also one of the most successful musicians ever, period.
Brook’s integration of pop and rock elements into his brand of country music is the reason he has been able to crossover to so many listeners worldwide. This has earned him remarkable success in the US and allowed him to break down international borders that his predecessors in country music could only dream of. But what are the Best Garth Brooks Songs of All Time? Let’s find out, but before that, let’s go back to his…
Brooks got his start in music by playing bars and clubs in Oklahoma. One venue that seems to stand out is Wild Willie’s Saloon in Stillwater. While Country was part of Garth’s early musical palette, he would only later develop the passion to play it himself.
Initially, he took to rock music. His elder siblings exposed Garth to many genres of music from a young age, and he turned away nothing. Brooks has said that some of his first major influences were James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg, and Townes Van Zandt.
These influences have stayed with Brooks and percolated into his later music. It was when he heard “Unwound” by George Strait, that Brooks decided to start playing Country music in earnest.
An entertainment attorney named Rod Phelps drove from Dallas to come and listen to Brooks. He was immediately impressed and began trying to entice Brooks to go to Nashville to pursue a music career. Brooks did eventually go to Nashville but left after only 24 hours.
After more convincing from Rob Phelps, Brooks would eventually become convinced. He moved to Nashville in 1987 with his wife, Sandy Mahl. Brooks didn’t take long to start making friends in the right places.
Within two years, Brooks secured a recording deal, and in 1989, his debut album was released. The album consisted mostly of traditional country songs, which drew strong influence from Brook’s love of George Strait.
It was a massive chart success, reaching #2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums and #13 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album yielded a treasure trove of successful hits for Brooks.
The album’s first single was a top ten hit across the entire US. The second single off the album became the first of Garth’s many number ones on the Hot Country Songs chart. The third reached #2, and the fourth was another #1. Not bad for a debut.
After the success of the songs…
A very popular music video for Brooks’s #1 hit “The Dance” was made and directed by John Loyd Miller. This exposed Garth to a broader audience and the flood gates opened. It culminated in him embarking on his first major concert tour as an opener for Kenny Rogers.
Brooks was only getting started. His 1990 album, No Fences, is still his most successful album to date. No Fences spent an insane 23 weeks at the very top of the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart and also reached #3 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Domestic shipments for the album have exceeded 17 million copies. In total, it yielded five songs which all reached the #1 spot on the Hot Country Songs Chart.
A diamond in the rough…
Brooks has been noted for wearing a wireless headset microphone to free himself up for his energetic live performances. His reputation as a fantastic live performer has resulted in one of the highest-selling live albums of all time.
Brooks is one of very few artists in history to earn diamond ratings on their albums. All in, a staggering nine Garth Brooks albums have been certified diamond by the RIAA for selling over ten million copies each. This record was formerly held in the US by none other than The Beatles.
Brooks has won two Grammy’s, seventeen American Music Awards, and the RIAA award for best-selling solo albums artist in the United States. With all that said, here are my picks for the best songs by Garth Brooks.
Album: Garth Brooks
As is logical in most circumstances, we begin at the very beginning. “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)” was released as the first single from Garth’s 1989 eponymous album. It is his introduction to the world as a musician, and he picked a good one for sure.
The song was co-written with Randy Taylor and tells the story of a beat-down rodeo rider and the price he needs to pay for his wild lifestyle. His love leaves him since he’s incapable of leaving his beloved rodeo for her.
As crazy as it might seem to Brooks fans, this song did not make it to the top spot when it came out. Peaking at #8 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart. That being said, the song has grown into one of Garth Brooks’s biggest hits and remains a staple for live shows to this day.
Album: No Fences
Love is the most universal of themes, and no songwriter worth his salt can go without writing a couple of tunes on the subject. Garth proved himself one of the best when he released this heart-string tugging beauty back in 1990.
Written by Brooks, Pat Alger, and Larry Bastian, the song was inspired by a personal experience. While attending a high school football game with his wife, Sandy Mahl, Brooks ran into his high school sweetheart. A girl whom he had once wanted to spend his life with.
Brooks realized that despite how he felt back then, he would never have been as happy with this girl as he ended up becoming with his beloved wife. Thus Unanswered prayers yielded happiness in the long run.
A thing of beauty at concerts…
If you’ve ever seen live performances of this song, you know that Brooks barely has time to start before the fans take over. And they don’t relent until the very last syllable. It proves the power of this message and affirms Brooks as a fantastic songwriter and storyteller.
Brooks once told an audience, “Every time I sing this song, it teaches me the same lesson… that happiness isn’t getting what you want, it is wanting what you’ve got.”
This one might not be one of the chart smashers that Garth is known for. But, to me, it represents his growth as an artist and songwriter from the early 90s till the 2010s.
The song’s protagonist merely tries to impart wisdom about love and life. Gained from their own experiences, the delivery is as heartfelt and emotional as any of Brook’s performances.
However, it only peaked at #17 on the Hot Country Songs chart. But, it did end up climbing to the #1 spot for songs with the most airplay in 2017, only further attesting to the quality and longevity of Garth’s material.
Fans of country music love a good time as much as anyone. And, if you can’t write a good upbeat tempo to get a crowd howling and dancing, you’re not going anywhere.
Garth has a whole arsenal of such numbers at his disposal. He seems to be able to write them with such ease as to inspire the fiercest of jealousy. This is a proper mood-booster of a tune to help you drown your sorrows because that’s exactly what it’s about.
Chasing away your troubles with two Piña Coladas is something we all probably dream of doing. And that’s why this song crosses over to such a wide group of listeners. Furthermore, it’s one of the most popular Garth Brooks songs.
By the time you get to the final chorus, you’re making a detour stop at the liquor store. Just so you can chant along with the battalion of singers, Garth got to join him in the studio for this one.
This feel-good number by Brooks was a #1 hit on the country charts in both the US and Canada. As a result, it is one of the best Garth Brooks songs of all time.
Album: Garth Brooks
Another smash hit off what is arguably one of the most successful debut albums in Country music. The song holds special significance as it was one of Garth Brooks first number one hits.
A smash hit…
The music video was directed By John Lloyd Miller and exposed Garth to mainstream audiences for the first time. It is a staple of his live catalog to this day and is one of Garth’s self-confessed favorites amongst all his material.
The song shot to #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart when it launched and stayed there for three weeks. Penned by Tony Arata, the song features a piano roll intro that has become infamous.
Also, some incredible production with strings coming in on the second verse. And, of course, some beautifully sung lyrics.
Album: Garth Brooks
This song was co-written with Kent Blazy and is undeniably one of Garth Brooks best-known songs. It was released as the second single from his debut album and quickly became a smash hit.
Many have chosen to interpret this as a traditional love song written by a man with a woman as his subject. But, Garth drew inspiration from the love between a father and his daughter for this song.
While fans and the public opinion might disagree, Garth has many times labeled this as his signature song. It was #1 in the year of its release.
Album: No Fences
Described as Garth Brooks signature song, “Friends in Low Places,” brings the house down whenever it’s played. The song was written way before Brooks even released his first album. But, it ended up being featured on his second record, which is also his highest seller.
There isn’t anything to say that hasn’t been said. It’s a super fun smash hit written by a master, and it will make the legacy of Garth Brooks an endlessly enduring one.
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Best Garth Brooks Songs of All Time – Conclusion
So, there you have them, in my opinion, the Best Songs ever released by Garth Brooks. If you love your country music and are looking for some superb songs to add to your collection or a playlist, all of these are well worth a listen.
Until next time, happy listening!