A Look Back At Garth Brooks' 'Ropin' The Wind' 25 Years Later

Garth Brooks

(Radio.com) This past Saturday (September 10) marked the 25th anniversary of Garth Brooks' landmarked "Ropin' The Wind" album, which was the first by a country singer to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts, and completely changed the game in country music.

In 1990, Garth Brooks released No Fences, an album that hit #3 on the pop album charts and eventually sold over 17 million copies. With smash hits like 'Unanswered Prayers," and 'Friends in Low Places," it's the album that made him a superstar within the world of country music.

But Brooks' ambitions extended far beyond his genre; he wanted to be the biggest artist in any genre. In fact, his ambitions were so big, that as he bum rushed the pop mainstream, the entire country music genre followed in his wake. As Garth became a mainstream superstar, he raised the profile of contemporary country music. That all started with Ropin' the Wind.

It turns out that Brooks' career started to catch fire at the exact right time: technology was changing in a way that would favor his dreams of chart domination. Thats because the way the Billboard charts were tabulated were changing, and would now favor country music in general (as well as other niches, like hip-hop and heavy metal). Prior to Ropin' the Wind, Billboard had been tracking sales through reporting from stores, a method that was inherently flawed, not to mention easily gamed and favored the most mainstream pop artists. Store managers literally reported what sold the most that week; this was not a scientific process. But in 1991, with the shift to electronic scanning, using a system called SoundScan, record sales began to be tallied electronically, and the Billboard charts reflected what albums were actually selling, in real time. By September 21 Ropin' The Wind secured its place on the Billboard Country and Top 200 charts at No. 1. Read more here.

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.


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