Country Throwback: Garth Brooks Refuses to Accept 1996 AMA Award

by Joe Rutland

Garth Brooks is one of those country music singers and songwriters who will gladly accept praise and awards. This wasn’t the case in 1996.

Brooks picked up the American Music Awards’ Favorite Male Country Artist honor and Favorite Country Album award for his record “The Hits.” Later on, though, he won Artist of the Year honors. Brooks welcomed the first two awards with open arms., but he could not accept the final one.

“Thank you very much. So you’ll know right off the bat…um, I cannot agree with this,” Brooks told a stunned crowd at the AMA Awards show. He went on to say that he felt others deserved the honor more than him. With that, Brooks left the award statue on the stage and walked off.

He was asked later on why he didn’t accept that honor. Brooks replied that he’d talked with a lot of music retailers around the country and he had heard Hootie & The Blowfish really kept them in business. For him, it felt like they should have won Artist of the Year honors and not him.

Here is Brooks’ speech upon receiving Artist of the Year honors at the 1996 AMA Awards.

Garth Brooks Joins Billy Joel To Sing ‘Shameless’

Meanwhile, back in 2008, Garth Brooks joined Billy Joel on stage for a concert at Shea Stadium a dozen years ago.

Joel played two, sold-out concerts at the historic stadium. He’d been inviting special guests, including Steven TylerRoger Daltrey, Tony Bennett, John Mellencamp and Paul McCartney to give Shea Stadium a proper sendoff. The home of the Mets was scheduled for demolition soon after.

Brooks was an obvious choice. After all, he’d turned a song written and recorded by Joel into a giant country hit.

Brooks released “Shameless” in 1991, two years after Joel included it in his album. “Shameless” was Brooks’ seventh No. 1 hit on the country charts. Trisha Yearwood, Brooks’ future wife, sang backup on the song.

Shea Stadium had such a historical aspect to it for concerts. The Beatles introduced themselves to American fans there with a sold-out concert in 1964.

In 2008, Brooks stepped to the front of the stage. He doffed his Mets hat to the crowd. Then he sang the song about a man who resists every temptation until he meets the woman of his dreams.

Joel played the piano and sang back up for the first half of the song. Brooks came over to lean on Joel’s baby grand. And Joel sang the second verse. The crowd loved it.

H/T: Country Music Family