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Garth Brooks is coming out of retirement [UDPATED]

Getprev-14 Eight years after trading in his Stetson and pop music superstardom for domestic life raising his three young daughters, Garth Brooks, the biggest-selling solo performer of all time, has decided to dust off that hat and come out of retirement.

There has been widespread speculation that he will perform in Las Vegas, and there is a news conference scheduled at Wynn Las Vegas this afternoon.

Brooks has sold more than 128 million albums in the U.S., according to the Recording Industry Assn. of America, second only to the Beatles’ 170 million albums.  Brooks has outsold the Fab Four -- more than 68 million, to the Beatles’ 58 million -- in the 18 years since Nielsen SoundScan began monitoring retail sales in 1991, two years after Brooks released his first single. The RIAA lists six of Brooks’ albums with sales of 10 million or more copies each.

During the 1990s he also was one of the most popular concert attractions in the world. Amusement Business magazine ranked his 1996 tour the biggest country music tour in history after he sold 1.8 million tickets that year.

“I think Garth is a huge attraction,” says Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the concert tracking magazine Pollstar. “He could go headline arenas right now if he wanted to.”

Any lingering questions about Brooks’ ongoing drawing power were obliterated in 2007 when he played nine concerts in Kansas City, Mo., in conjunction with the release that fall of his compilation album “Ultimate Hits.” He initially planned one show at the 19,000-capacity Spring Center Arena as a thank-you to employees of Wal-Mart, but demand quickly led to the addition of eight more shows that were opened to the general public. All nine sold out in a matter of minutes.

Two months later he quickly sold out five shows at Staples Center in Los Angeles that were benefits for firefighters and victims of wildfires that had recently scorched broad swaths of Southern California. As he had done previously, Brooks insisted the tickets be affordable to rank-and-file music fans. Tickets for the Kansas City shows were $25, and for the Staples Center dates the face-value seats topped out at $45.

Several major life events preceded the announcement of Brooks’ retirement. His mother died in 1999, and the following year he and his wife of 14 years, Sandy, were divorced. The couple’s daughters were 8, 6 and 4 at the time. They’re now 17, 15 and 13 and live in Oklahoma with Brooks and singer Trisha Yearwood, who married in 2005.

Brooks, widely regarded as one of country music’s savviest businessmen, also was looking ahead, knowing that no act stays at the top forever and eyeing a new crop of young male stars such as Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban on the rise as the new millennium dawned. So he chose to bow out while he was still riding high.

"I have respect for artists who keep making music their entire life, but I don't want to ride that downside of the [sales] curve," he said in 1996. "You want to be remembered at your best."

Barbra Streisand sparked grumbling from some of her fans a few years after her highly touted -- and high-priced -- “farewell” concerts when the singer announced she would do some more concerts after all.

But few expect any backlash about Brooks’ change of heart.

“He has so much goodwill built up, he always put on outstanding live shows, nobody ever thought they got taken advantage of by Garth Brooks — those are all positives working in his favor,” Bongiovanni said. “I think fans all expect to [entertainers who retire] to come back sooner or later.”

-- Randy Lewis



PHOTO GALLERY: Retirements that weren't

Photo: Garth Brooks at Staples Center in 2008. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times

UPDATED 4:46 P.M.: An earlier version of this post said a Kansas City concert in 2007 had started as a thank you to employees of Wal-mart, which exclusively handled his “Ultimate Hits” CD/DVD collection. His exclusive deal with Wal-Mart had ended before that set was released.

Comments () | Archives (44)

I am so thrilled to hear that Garth is coming out of retirement! I was fortunate enough to see him at one of the shows at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo in 2007 and was just loved the show.
I had enjoyed his music for years, but had never seen him in concert before that. Not only did we get an amazing concert, but he priced it so that anyone that wanted to, could afford to go. That man is a one of a kind singer and performer, I can't wait to see him again!

Glad to have Garth back in the music business. I have surely missed him.

I'd like to see that Ferlon Husky come back.

Out sold the Beatles, huh?
Funny, I don't know one person that owns his music.

Just heard that Garth is coming back HOORAY a real Country legend and such a gent, I never thought I would be able to see him live, thrilled that I will be able to. Just waiting for ticket details to be released then I am on a plane to your great country. XX

Hope Garth makes it back to Ireland,cant wait............

I will most def visit him in Vegas!!! Welcome back!!!!

I'm not the biggest fan of Mr.Brooks' music, but it is heartening to see a superstar musician who isn't willing to take advantage of his fans with exorbitant ticket prices. Literally every other musician of his caliber engages in ticket price gouging.

Are kidding me? Im so absolutly excited to see Garth is coming back.. I have seen him twice in the years that have passed and he IS the best entertainer ever.. I live here in Las Vegas.. It will so nice to beable to go see him when ever I want depending on what his ticket prices will be.
Garth is all about his fans, the money is not an issue for him that is why it took so long for he to negotiate with Wynn. He wants his fans to be happy and beable to afford to come watch him perform..
So best of luck to you Mr. Garth Brooks..
looking forward to seeing you soon at The Encore theater!!!

I saw Garth in concert about two years ago at the Sprint Center (with Trisha)in Kansas City. I'm not sure where 8 years came from. It was one of 9 concerts that he did.

It will be interesting to see how his insistence on fair ticket pricing for fans is reconciled with the generally high ticket prices in Las Vegas. But he's definitely worth the money!

I Cant Wait To See Him In Vegas Again

FYI I Don't Know Of Anyone That Recognizes The Name DJ Scungilli


I've been a Garth fan for years, who has been waiting for this day! He never said his retirement was permanent, just that he wanted to raise his daughters and then would think about coming back. I was fortunate enough to be at his 2nd Friday show in Jan. 08 and it was the best ever. So the day is here and all I can say is that wherever he plays, I'll be there!

I've always said that if I had a choice of anyone to see live, it'd be Garth Brooks, and was so disappointed when he retired. So, although I'm annoyed by celebs who can't seem to retire, I'm excited at another opportunity to see him!

Lets a another show in Croke Park!! never got a chance to get a ticket last time! absolute living legend!

Yes! Finally some good news this morning-Garth Brooks has always meant good music and meaningful songs-and his priorities have never changed. I just hope LV treats him well!

Will Garth be coming to Ireland??

So Mr. Money Bags Garth Brooks is coming outta retirement huh? Now the world can spin right again! To use the term "country music" in any discussion of this extra mediocre Deputy Dawg-hat wearing goofball is a scandal itself. It was never about the music with this guy, hell music was just a means to sell records! Don't believe me? He himself famously said his biggest influences were Kiss for God's sake! Country my hat!

And selling more than the Beatles? Well, I wonder how many of those suckers still listen to those albums? Or, better yet, will the demand for Garth product come close to that of the Beatles, 40 years after HE is gone? A computer game perhaps?

The end of this article doesn't really apply because Garth always said he may come back after his girls were grown. He didn't do any ridiculous farewell tour and never said he wouldn't be back.

hate to tell that one fool i own every album garth has put out seen him 5 times in concert i have seen many acts and no one puts on a show better then him.. i came out of each concert exhausted.. trust me i will be at his next concert.. And no i am his biggest fan.. my daughter is named after his daughter.. the G man is back and bring chris gaines garth were all nuts in this world any ways...

I have been at home today listening to The Wolf radio station from Nashville over the net and heard the great news that Garth is coming back.I just hope he will consider coming over to this side of the great pond to England. It would be fantastic if he would honour his fans over here. Can't wait for any new CD. Mike

Thank God! It was the right time to leave the party and now it is the right time to have one.

It's great to hear Garth is returning...looking forward to his next album!!

Will Garth be playing in Ireland again if he is coming out of retirement ?

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