By Erin Duvall
Garth Brooks is one of the best-selling artists of all time. He is second only to the Beatles (yes, those Beatles) and comes in ahead of Elvis Presley. He has sold more than 160 million albums during his 30-year career. The RIAA, which gives out those gold and platinum certifications for album sales, named him the best-selling solo artist of the 20th century in the United States.
In terms of ACM Awards, Brooks has won the Entertainer of the Year award six times, but not since in 1998. That same year, the ACM also named him the Artist of the Decade. In the years since, Brooks has been honored numerous times by the ACMs, earning the 40th Anniversary Milestone Award in 2005, the Crystal Milestone Award in 2007 and the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award in 2010.
So why should a man who has had so much success be considered for a seventh Entertainer title? Particularly since, in October of 2000, Brooks announced his retirement from country music, and walking away from touring and recording to return to his native Oklahoma to raise his daughters.
In 2009, Brooks was convinced by Casino mogul Steve Wynn to begin performing again, with the condition that he was able to be home the majority of the week. That began his Vegas residency at the Wynn, which ran through 2014. Since its conclusion, Brooks partnered with Sony Music Nashville and released a new album, Man Against the Machine, exclusively through his online store GhostTunes.
Eventually, though, he wanted to get back on the road. So, on Sept. 4, 2014, Brooks and his wife Trisha Yearwood performed the first stop on their world tour together. A standard tour runs maybe four months with probably three to four stops a week in different cities. The Garth Brooks world tour with Trisha Yearwood allows the pair to live a somewhat normal life. They perform multiple times in each city and then go home for a little while before their next group of dates.
So far, the tour has grossed $114.9 million and was the third ranking tour (by revenue) in 2015. The trek has been limited to the United States and Canada, but it reportedly scheduled to include Australia, Europe and South America before its conclusion in 2017. Few artists besides Garth Brooks could return from such a lengthy retirement to find a legion of fans that size, just waiting for him. Perhaps he didn’t make the impact on radio that some of the other nominees did in 2015, but any year that he’s active — particularly on the road — Garth Brooks is always going to be one of country music’s biggest entertainers.