by Dan Gibson
You probably don't generally head out on the internet looking for examinations of the musical career and cultural impact of Garth Brooks, but Steven Hyden's piece in the AV Club on Ropin' the Wind and what the pudgy lite-country singer's obsession with records and statistics is a great read.
Ropin’ The Wind to date has sold 14 million copies, which puts it among the best-selling country records ever, and the biggest albums of any genre on any all-time list. It’s the record that cemented Brooks as the most popular singer of his time, and heralded the arrival of country music as a dominant pop genre. In recent years, Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum have stood toe-to-toe with the most successful pop stars in the world, and come out ahead. That this doesn’t seem at all unusual speaks to the titanic impact Brooks had on the music world, and pop culture in general, both in the ’90s and for years afterward.
And yet there are no plans for a deluxe reissue of Ropin’ The Wind. No music magazines have devoted special issues to delving into the record’s history or the influence it had on other artists. Jon Stewart will not be hosting a two-hour retrospective on the album. All of those honors instead have been bestowed on Nirvana’s Nevermind, an album that was embraced by a different group of people—a much smaller group, Brooks would likely point out—than the group that backed Garth.