If you lined up all the albums Garth Brooks has sold during his unparalleled career, they would stretch around the globe once and then back halfway around again.
When Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced that staggering statistic at a press conference in Nashville today, Brooks sat on the front row, gripping wife Trisha Yearwood’s hand with a look of sheer disbelief — and immense gratitude. It was Yearwood who first told her husband of his latest history-making feat last week, surprising him on stage in Fresno, California, with the news of his seventh RIAA Diamond Award. That honor is given when an album reaches sales of more than 10 million copies. He is the first and only artist in music history to have seven Diamond certifications, now surpassing the Beatles.
To celebrate this incredible milestone, Brooks will give back to the people who made it all possible. He has teamed with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development to host a free concert at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater on October 24th. When Rolling Stone Country caught up with the icon after the big announcement, he was quick to correct us when we referred to it as a “show.”
“The way to understand what this thing is, take the word ‘show’ out of it and think of it as a celebration,” he told us. “We are going to come together and celebrate the seven Diamonds. . . Me and a guitar and the people who allowed me to get this award, we’re going to go through a song off each [album]. Let me tell you, those seven songs are going to be fun, fun, fun to do.”
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Today, Brooks was also named a Tennessee Ambassador of Goodwill in honor of his seven-time RIAA achievement. The Oklahoma native took the press conference stage to praise all that the Volunteer State has done for him, for his wife and for the countless artists who follow in their footsteps.
“They talk about faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love. . . But as long as you have hope, you have a reason to get up in the morning. And Tennessee provides hope,” he said. “The dream has always been Nashville, the dream has always been Tennessee, where you get to make your music.”