It is difficult to overestimate Garth Brooks’ popularity. John Lennon once remarked that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” As it turns out, Garth Brooks is more popular than the Beatles. So just how popular is he then? The numbers are astounding.
A record achieves diamond status when it has certified sales of 10 million copies (or more). And 23 years ago, Garth Brooks achieved that status for the second time.
The first time he reached diamond status was with his second album. Released in 1990, No Fences sold 17 million copies. No one could have predicted the success the album would have, but it was more than the sales. No Fences really began changing the world’s experience of country music– and turned Brooks into an all-out superstar.
No Fences contained four hit singles, including “Friends in Low Places,” “Unanswered Prayers,” “Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House,” and “The Thunder Rolls.” “Friends in Low Places” almost immediately became the honkey tonk anthem of country music.
Just a year later, he released his third studio album, Ropin’ the Wind. With 10 million certified sales, it gave Brooks the honor of being the first country artist to have two albums earn diamond status. Not only that, it took the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart for 18 weeks. But that was nothing compared to the almost 6 months it spent at the top of the country charts.
So what makes Brooks more popular than the Beatles?
A Diamond Mine
In addition to the two records that achieved diamond status, Brooks has had five others get there: Garth Brooks, Double Live, Sevens, The Hits and, The Ultimate Hits. With a total of seven diamond status albums, he can truthfully say he has more diamond records than the Beatles.
Not a bad feat for an Oklahoma boy.
In addition to his massive record sales, he is currently holding the top nonfiction book spot thanks to the release of the first volume of his autobiographical anthology.
It is difficult to quantify, or even explain, the impact Brooks has had on country music. He essentially is modern country. The mesh of rock, honkey tonk, performance art, and soul combined seamlessly– and came into view just as the world was ready for it. In that way, he and the Beatles are decidedly similar. They both invaded America when it was ready for change– and both created an entirely new landscape.