#137 Garth Brooks – Ropin’ The Wind (1991)

If No Fences was the album that introduced Garth Brooks to non country fans, then Ropin’ The Wind was the one that made him a bona-fide superstar. It was the first country album to ever debut at #1 on Billboards Hot 200 albums chart and sold over 14 million copies. Riding the wave of popularity from his previous CD, he has refered to this record as “Son of Fences” and in many ways it was. Maybe as a purposeful nod to his country roots, the western tinged “Rodeo” was the first single released from the record, eventuality peaking at #3 on the country charts. The song was clearly a country song and the theme of the rodeo was obviously a country theme. It did not matter, the album came out of the gates like a Brahma bull. It would be the next single that would be the first tangible evidence that Garth knew his audience extended farther north than the Mason Dixon line. It was his cover of Billy Joels “Shameless” that was a #1 country hit while being a crossover smash and this albums rocking “Friends In Low Places” anthem. After “Shameless” it was clear that his audience had no borders and that he was very aware of that fact. Almost as if following the same musical formula as Fences the next single “What She’s Doing Now” was the live ballad that sounds very much like “Unanswered Prayers” from the previous record. As I listened to both of these albums again, years later with fresh ears, they just are not as strong as I remember. They are still very good to me, just not as legendary as their success would lead you to believe. Very few artists have had back to back albums that have sold like Garth & only the Beatles have sold more records than he has over his career, so it would be foolish to argue his merits.

Other Garth Brooks on this blog: #144 Garth Brooks – No Fences

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