Garth Brooks was only 36 when Dick Clark posed a broad question after the country singer picked up a trophy at the Academy of Country Music Awards.
Clark, the iconic host of American television, asked Brooks, then a budding country legend, what was left for him to fulfill?
“Geez,” Brooks said. “The question.”
He paused, then finished the answer to a thought-provoking question.
“I would love to bring honor to music like George Strait and Reba McEntire have over the years.”
He then mentioned Lee Ann Womack. She’d just won the ACM’s top new female vocalist award.
“I would love to always be in search of the innocence you see on LeeAnn Womack’s face during her acceptance speech,” Brooks said.
“The music will lead us there if you just follow.”
It was profound, albeit, off-the-cuff stuff. A clean-shaven Brooks looked so young in the interview. He was married to Sandy, whom he met while he was a part-time bouncer at a nightclub in Stillwater, Okla. And the two were raising three young daughters.
But by 1998, Brooks was a seasoned pro. He’d already accomplished a lifetime of achievements.
What Did Garth Brooks Win That Night in 1998?
Brooks dominated country music in the 1990s. On this April evening in Los Angeles, Brooks accepted the Entertainer of the Year award. That prompted the question from Clark.
Coincidentally, Trisha Yearwood won female vocalist of the year. She married Brooks in 2005 to form one of country music’s top power couples.
The night’s other big winners included George Strait, who was named top male vocalist. The Dixie Chicks, who now just go by the Chicks, won best group along with the Horizon Award. Faith Hill. Her song “This Kiss” earned best video.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill also picked up some significant hardware. McGraw’s “Everywhere” won for best album. Hill’s “This Kiss” was named music video of the year.
The song “Holes In The Floor of Heaven” earned Steve Wariner single of the year. He shared song of the year honors with co-writer Billy Kirsch.
But in the 1990s, a conversation about country music begin and ended with Garth Brooks. His presence was overwhelming. That’s probably why he was asked what dreams were left to fulfill despite being in his mid-30s.
As of this year, Brooks’ music is more popular than Elvis Presley’s and topped only by The Beatles.
He’s sold more than 156 million albums in the United States.
Sadly, Clark died in 2012. So he’s not around to ask Brooks what’s left to accomplish.