Happy birthday to Garth Brooks! The singer was born on Feb. 7, 1962, in Tulsa, Okla.

Born Troyal Garth Brooks, the future country superstar is the youngest child of Troyal and Colleen Brooks. His parents deserve much of the credit for his success, since they hosted weekly talent shows for their family, in which they required their six children to participate, fostering their son's early creativity.

But although Brooks showed precocious musical talent, his real love was sports, and he devoted much of his childhood to excelling in athletics, especially football, baseball and track and field. It was his athleticism that led Brooks to Oklahoma State University after high school, on a track scholarship; he graduated in 1984 with a degree in advertising, but his aspirations soon changed from business to music.

Only one year after graduation, in 1985, Brooks made his first trip to Nashville, Tenn., at the encouragement of entertainment attorney Rod Phelps. Although Brooks only stayed for 24 hours during that first visit, in 1987, he permanently moved to Music City with his then-new wife Sandy.

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Brooks released his eponymous debut album in 1989. The record, which has been certified diamond, for sales in excess of 10 million copies, spawned two No. 1 hits, "If Tomorrow Never Comes" and "The Dance." His sophomore disc, No Fences, stayed in the top spot for 23 weeks, and his 1991 record, Ropin' the Wind, stayed there for a total of 18 weeks.

Brooks has sold more than 135 million albums, making him, to date, the best-selling solo artist in the history of the United States. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1990 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012, and he also joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011.

While he has enjoyed plenty of successes and accolades, it's his life behind the scenes that Brooks is most passionate about. The father of three girls, the country star divorced Sandy in 2001 and famously retired that same year to focus on his daughters. He wed fellow country star Trisha Yearwood in 2005 and enjoyed several years out of the limelight and off the road, before returning to his career with both his World Tour and Man Against Machine album in 2014.

In recent years, he's released a string of new records, including two in 2016 -- Christmas Together, his 2016 holiday record with Trisha Yearwood and his solo LP Gunslinger -- along with his 2020 album Fun.

This article was originally written by Gayle Thompson and revised by Lorie Liebig.

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