The Hits: Garth Brooks
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If you're not sure what Garth means to country music, consider that before him a country show primarily meant the musicians simply performing without much showmanship. Garth brought flames, smokescreen, flying out over the stage on wires and other razzle dazzle to his shows and fans turned up in droves. He reminded country performers that a little spectacle isn't necessarily a bad thing.
All of these were chart hits to some degree or other but obviously some songs stand taller than others. To this day, "Friends in Low Places", "The Thunder Rolls", "Unanswered Prayers" and "If Tomorrow Never Comes" still get frequent (and deserved) airplay. "That Summer" doesn't get as many spins, but it should because it's a perfect evocation of the emotions every man goes through the first time he has sex. Garth was right about "Callin' Baton Rouge"...it's a great song. At least if New Grass Revival couldn't get a solid hit out of it, they got some recognition for the tune.
"American Honky-Tonk Bar Association" (the same stereotypes as on "Friends in Low Places" but without the great sense of humour) and the preachy "We Shall Be Free" are the clunkers here, despite their chart appearance.Read more ›
Garth's first single (Much too young) was a great song but the other two hits (If tomorrow never comes, The dances) from his debut album (simply titled Garth Brooks) really set up his career. Irish singer Ronan Keating later had a British number one hit with a cover of If tomorrow never comes. While his debut album provided Garth with a great start to his career, he was at that stage overshadowed by another rising country star, Clint Black. While Clint was never quite able to match the brilliance of his debut album, Garth took country music to a whole new audience.
Garth's second album (No fences) yielded four major hits (Friends in low places, Unanswered prayers, The thunder rolls, Two of a kind working on a full house). Garth co-wrote The thunder rolls before he had a recording contract and Tanya Tucker was the first singer to record it. Tanya's brilliant version was not released on an album at the time (it later appeared on a 4-CD boxed set in 1994) so Garth recorded it himself. The album eventually sold well over ten million copies in America, reaching out to a pop and rock audience that traditionally ignored country music.Read more ›
I am a sucker for most sentimental songs, although I do have limits, and much of what country music presents goes far beyond what I can appreciate, over into the land of contrived hooks and emotional showboating. Yet most of us would agree that "if Tomorrow Never Comes" is one of those songs that runs recklessly on the edge of the latter but stays beautifully just inside the limits of what even an old curmudgeon like me has to love! So, too, does the thoughtful emotionalism forwarded in "The River" and "Unanswered Prayers" provide us with examples of just how good Garth can be at his best. So too his magical lyrical confections catch us up in spite of ourselves in songs like "Standing Outside The Fire". Garth does indeed have a way with words.
We all should appreciate the degree to which Brooks has been an influence on the direction of contemporary country music, and I dare to be of the opinion that he has helped to encourage a degree of seriousness and purpose among many young songwriters that the general level of excellence has been lifted. While we may always be victimized by the "You Flushed Me Down The Toilet of Your Heart" kind of country singers, we can also look forward to an occasional glimpse at songs like "The Dance" or "The River" because of Garth. Enjoy!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My vehicle was broken into and couldn't live without this CD!! Very high quality and packaged well.Published 3 days ago by Chajua P.
I've loved Garth Brooks for years and years and I've also worn out from playing so much a few of his CDs so I reorder them as needed. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Pepper
"The Hits" is exactly what it says it is -- 18 of Garth Brooks's biggest hits, including his first 14 number one singles. Read morePublished 2 months ago by HH