Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios
With 26 number one records and 128 million albums sold, Garth Brooks is the top-selling solo artist in American history. But in 2001, at the peak of his career, the king of country radio retired from live performances.
Then, in 2009, Garth dusted off his hat, tuned his guitar and headed to Las Vegas. His intimate, sold-out shows at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel are the hottest tickets on the planet.
Garth says his reason for coming out of retirement can be explained in two words. "Steve Wynn," he says.
When looking for financial backing for his charity work, Garth says he thought of Steve, billionaire developer of some of the hottest hotel-casinos in Las Vegas. "That same day I got a message from my manager saying, 'Steve Wynn's looking for you.' And I thought, 'It has to be,'" Garth says. "Now the plan was that I would bait him in, because he'd want me to play at his place. I would go along for a little while, then say: 'I'm still in retirement. I'm fine. But I need money from you for the charity.'"
It didn't quite work out that way, though. "He hasn't given me a dime for charity, and now I'm working for him," Garth says.