24 Surprising Facts You Didn't Know About Garth Brooks

Ladies and gentleman, a round of applause for country legend Garth Brooks.

Ladies and gentleman, a round of applause for country legend Garth Brooks.

With over 134 million albums sold, it's no wonder why country megastar Garth Brooks has been nominated for Entertainer Of The Year at the 2016 Academy of Country Music Awards.

His success knows no limit, as illustrated by the fact he has spent more weeks at No. 1 on the album sales charts than any other artist since the inception of Soundscan, which tracks music sales throughout the U.S. He's accumulated 25 No. 1 singles on the country charts, too. 

So, kick up your cowboy boots and get to know more about the man behind the signature Stetson. Plus, don't forget to watch the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday, April 3 at 8/7c.
1. Garth’s real first name is Troyal.

1. Garth’s real first name is Troyal.

Garth is actually Brooks' middle name. Troyal also happens to be his father’s name.

Photo: © E.J. Camp/Corbis
 
2. Brooks was the 65th member to join the Grand Ole Opry.

2. Brooks was the 65th member to join the Grand Ole Opry.

He was inducted on October 6, 1990, which was less than two years after his self-titled debut album was released.

Photo: © Reuters/Corbis
 
3. In 1991, Brooks broke his first ACM Awards record.

3. In 1991, Brooks broke his first ACM Awards record.

That year, Garth walked home with six Academy of Country Music Awards, including Entertainer Of The Year and Male Vocalist Of The Year.

Photo: © Tony Nelson/Retna Ltd./Corbis
 
4. His song

4. His song "More Than A Memory" broke one of the biggest country music records of all time.

In 2007, his 51st single became the first-ever to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

Photo: © Chris Farina/Corbis
 
5. Brooks’ hits are out of this world. Literally.

5. Brooks’ hits are out of this world. Literally.

In 1995, famed astronaut Colonel Bill McArthur brought a copy of Garth’s album The Hits with him when he visited the Russian Mir Space station in orbit.

Photo: © Mario Anzuoni/Reuters/Corbis
 
6. Brooks was selling cowboy boots when he penned his first hit song.

6. Brooks was selling cowboy boots when he penned his first hit song.

Ken Mellons, a famous Nashville hit maker in the '90s, worked with Brooks as a boot salesman and said, in between customers, Brooks wrote his Top 5 song "Not Counting You."

Photo: © Robert Galbraith/Reuters/Corbis
 
7. Garth might actually be superhuman.

7. Garth might actually be superhuman.

When Brooks attended Nashville’s Fan Fair in 1996, he did a meet-and-greet that lasted a full 23 hours and 10 minutes—and he didn’t take a break. Not even once!

Photo: © E.J. Camp/Corbis
 
8. Brooks met his first wife, Sandy Mahl, while breaking up a fight.

8. Brooks met his first wife, Sandy Mahl, while breaking up a fight.

When Brooks was working as a bouncer at the Tumbleweed Ballroom in Stillwater, Oklahoma, he broke up a fight in the ladies' room. One of two women brawling was Mahl, who he later married and had three daughters with.

Photo: © Mark Savage/Corbis
 
9. Music's in his blood.

9. Music's in his blood.

Brooks’ mother, Colleen Carroll, also recorded a few songs for Capitol Records in the '50s and often performed on the TV show Ozark Jubilee

Photo: © E.J. Camp/Corbis
 
10.

10. "We Shall Be Free" has a very important place in history.

Garth wrote the famous song after being in Los Angeles during the 1992 riots, which also happened to be when the Academy of Country Music Awards were being held that year.

In the liner notes from his album The Hits, he shared this background about the song:

"'We Shall Be Free' is definitely and easily the most controversial song I have ever done. A song of love, a song of tolerance from someone who claims not to be a prophet but just an ordinary man. I never thought there would be any problems with this song. Sometimes, the roads we take do not turn out to be the roads we envisioned them to be. All I can say about 'We Shall Be Free' is that I will stand by every line of this song as long as I live. I am very proud of it."

Photo: © Dave Kaup/Reuters/Corbis
 
11. Just like the song, the music video for

11. Just like the song, the music video for "We Shall Be Free" was incredibly powerful.

Directed by Timothy Miller, the poignant clip featured appearances by a variety of A-List celebs, including Reba McEntire, Jay Leno, Craig T. Nelson, Troy Aikman, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., and many more. It also won Video Of The Year at the 1993 ACMs.

Photo: © Mark Savage/Corbis
 
12. Martina McBride was the opening act on one of Brooks' tours.

12. Martina McBride was the opening act on one of Brooks' tours.

Once upon a time, before Martina was the household name she is today, she joined Garth on his first headlining solo tour.

Photo: © Reuters/Corbis
 
13. He left his guitar in Dallas.

13. He left his guitar in Dallas.

In 1991, during a concert in Dallas, Garth ended the show by smashing his guitar into pieces and passing them out to fans in the first row. Lucky!

Photo: © Reuters/Corbis
 
14. Brooks originally had dreams of being in the big leagues.

14. Brooks originally had dreams of being in the big leagues.

Garth was quite the athlete in high school and received a track-and-field scholarship to Oklahoma State University. Thanks to his javelin skills, he graduated in 1984 with a degree in advertising.

Photo: © Gregory Pace/Sygma/Corbis
 
15. If you haven’t heard the live versions of

15. If you haven’t heard the live versions of "Friends In Low Places" or "The Thunder Rolls," then you're missing out.

Both of these trademark tunes have a third verse, which can't be heard on the album No Fences. Garth only performs the extra lyrics during live performances or on his live albums. It's also not unusual to hear both songs' live versions on country music radio.

Photo: © Rick Maiman/Sygma/Corbis
 
16. There's a street in Yukon, Oklahoma, named after him.

16. There's a street in Yukon, Oklahoma, named after him.

Now that's a hometown tribute!

Photo: © Mitchell Gerber/Corbis
 
17. On October 26, 2000, Brooks

17. On October 26, 2000, Brooks "retired" from performing and touring.

Ironically, it was the same day that Capitol Nashville threw a party to celebrate Garth selling 100 million albums.

Photo: © Dan Harr/Splash News/Corbis
 
18. Garth’s daughter is named after one of the greats.

18. Garth’s daughter is named after one of the greats.

Of his three daughters, the eldest is named Taylor in honor of folk legend James Taylor.

Photo: © Neal Nachman/Splash News/Corbis
 
19. Garth is a grandpa!

19. Garth is a grandpa!

It wasn't too long ago that another one of his daughters, Anna Brooks, gave birth to Garth's first granddaughter, Karalynn, in July 2013.

Photo: © Rick Friedman/Corbis
 
20. Six of Brooks’ albums have achieved diamond status.

20. Six of Brooks’ albums have achieved diamond status.

In the music industry, diamond sales are achieved when an artist sells over 10 million copies of an album—and six of Garth's LPs have achieved this great honor, including Garth Brooks, No Fences, Ropin’ The Wind, The Hits, Sevens, and Double Live.

Photo: © Tony Nelson/Retna Ltd./Corbis
 
21. In 2000, Brooks attempted to donate part of his liver to fellow country artist, Chris LeDoux.

21. In 2000, Brooks attempted to donate part of his liver to fellow country artist, Chris LeDoux.

When Wyoming-based singer/songwriter Chris LeDoux was suffering from liver cancer, Brooks attempted to be his donor; sadly, he wasn't compatible.

Photo: © Pete Souza/White House/Handout
 
22.

22. "Good Ride Cowboy" isn’t just a No. 1 hit for Garth.

In 2005, Brooks penned the song, which ended up being his 26th No. 1 hit, as a tribute to LeDoux, who passed away earlier that year after a long battle with liver cancer.

Photo: © Bev Moser/AdMedia/Corbis
 
23. He's the man behind GhostTunes.

23. He's the man behind GhostTunes.

Brooks created an online music store in September 2014 called GhostTunes. The name stems from combining Garth with the word "host," which equals "Ghost." (Get it?) 

Photo: © Fred Prouser/Reuters/Corbis
 
24. Brooks is the top-selling artist of the last 20 years.

24. Brooks is the top-selling artist of the last 20 years.

Since 1991, Garth has sold over 68,561,000 units, which is 5 million more than the artist in second places. Who's that? Oh, just The Beatles. NBD.

For more Garth goodness, watch the 51st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards when it's broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 3 at 8/7c.