Thirty-five years ago today (April 12, 1989), neither Garth Brooks nor anyone else could have anticipated how much the music world was about to change. It was on that date that the singer released his self-titled debut album, marking the beginning of one of the most successful country music careers of all time.

At the time of Garth Brooks' release, Brooks was already storming up the charts with the record's first single, "Much Too Young (to Feel This Damn Old)," which became the Oklahoma native's first Top 10 hit. Brooks' freshman disc spawned three more Top 10 singles, including his second single, "If Tomorrow Never Comes," which became his first No. 1 hit.

Garth Brooks Garth Brooks album cover
Capitol Nashville

Brooks, who co-wrote five of the 10 songs on Garth Brooks, admits that he had no idea how much his life would be affected by his freshman project.

"[I was] definitely scared to death," he acknowledges. "I thought the album was very, very innocent. And I gotta be truthful with you, every time I hear those songs off the radio or off the album itself, or even when we play them live, I really get that same kind of scared feeling that I had way back in 1988 and 1989."

The fourth and final single from Garth Brooks was "The Dance," which stayed at the top of the charts for three weeks and became one of the biggest singles of Brooks' career. The tune's accompanying video includes appearances by several people who perished while living the proverbial dream, including Martin Luther King Jr., Keith Whitley and the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Garth Brooks became Brooks' first diamond-certified record, signifying sales in excess of 10 million units. The Country Music Hall of Fame member remains the best-selling solo artist in U.S. history; the singer-songwriter says that he still traces much of his success to his first record.

"That first album is always a big one for any artist," Brooks notes. "Without trying to sound egotistical, I'm very proud of my first one."

This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski. 

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