Why Does Everyone Hate Garth Brooks: The Rise and Fall of Garth Brooks’ Public Image

Garth Brooks is one of the most successful country music stars of all time, having sold over 150 million records worldwide. However, despite his enormous commercial success, Brooks has long faced criticism and backlash from some country music fans and industry observers.

This article will explore some of the common critiques leveled at Brooks and examine why he elicits such strong reactions, both positive and negative.

Garth Brooks Really Hated by Everyone?

While Brooks certainly has his detractors, it would be an overstatement to claim that “everyone” hates him. He continues to have a huge fanbase who passionately support his music. However, there are segments of the country fan community that have strongly voiced critiques of Brooks over the years.

Country Music Purists

Some traditionalist country music fans perceive Brooks as not being “authentic” country. They view his bombastic showmanship and arena rock-influenced sounds as a betrayal of country’s roots. This camp tends to prefer artists that hew more closely to classic honky-tonk and outlier country styles.

Industry Frustrations

Additionally, some industry insiders have expressed frustrations over the ways Brooks has leveraged his popularity to gain unprecedented control over sales and distribution of his music. His refusal to make his catalog available on streaming platforms for many years rubbed many industry members the wrong way.

Personality Critiques

And finally, some detractors simply find Brooks’ overtly enthusiastic personality to be cloying or inauthentic. They see his over-the-top antics like smashing guitars as cringeworthy rather than entertaining.

So while “everyone” is clearly an overstatement, Brooks has faced no shortage of critiques from pockets of the country fan community over the years.

What are the Most Common Criticisms About Garth Brooks’s Music?

While Brooks enjoys chart-topping success, critics have several issues with his musical style and priorities:

Perceived Inauthenticity

As mentioned, some traditionalists believe Brooks’ music comes off as contrived or imitation country rather than the “real deal.” They see his bombastic arena concerts and rock stylings as calculating moves to sell more records rather than staying true to country’s roots.

Emphasis on Commercial Success Over Artistry

Relatedly, some critics believe Brooks places too much priority on commercial success over artistry. They see decisions like making his catalog exclusive to GhostTunes (his own digital store) as self-serving rather than adding value for fans.

Song Quality and Consistency

And from a pure songcraft perspective, some observers feel the quality of Brooks’ output is inconsistent. While viewed as a gifted performer, some see his song lyrics and melodies as mediocre at times. They argue he doesn’t have a song catalog that stands up to country legends’ best works.

Live Show Bombast

Some fans accustomed to intimate honky tonk country shows find Brooks’ arena rock-inspired live performances to be overblown spectacles rather than authentic concerts. The costume changes, exploding stages, and other antics are viewed as over-the-top.

So Brooks faces no shortage of criticisms related to musical integrity and priorities over the years, fair or not.

What Incidents Damaged Garth Brooks’s Reputation the Most?

A few specific incidents likely fueled much of the anti-Brooks sentiment through the years:

GhostTunes Exclusivity Backlash

In 2014, Brooks launched his own online music store called GhostTunes where his catalog was exclusively sold digitally. Fans reacted angrily at having to use a separate store just for Brooks’ music rather than mainstream services. And the rollout had technical issues. This likely cemented some of the criticism related to self-serving priorities.

Conflicts With Band Members

There have been rumors over the years of disputes between Brooks and some band members. One well-known early member, David Gant, left on poor terms. And Brooks has toured with an almost entirely new band in recent years. This band discord may have sparked some questions about Brooks’ character.

(Table with details on specific Garth Brooks band member departures)

Band MemberYear LeftReported Reason for Departure
David Gant1989Dispute over money and whose name touring was booked under
James Garver2014Unspecified creative differences
Mark Greenwood2015Wanted to play with other artists, touring strain

National Anthem Lip Sync Controversy

In 2010, Brooks was set to play a televised concert special for charity recorded at Detroit’s Ford Field stadium. But inclement weather caused technical issues. So he lip synced a prerecorded version of the national anthem rather than performing it live as attendees expected. Many fans saw this as dishonest and disrespectful.

While Brooks has enjoyed massive success, these specific issues likely fueled negative impressions among some observers. They perhaps view him as egotistical or inauthentic rather than earnest.

What are Some Common Defenses of Garth Brooks From Fans?

While Brooks certainly has vocal critics, he also enjoys an enormous passionate fanbase who defend criticisms in several ways:

Success Justifies Musical Style

Fans argue that his arena-ready anthemic songs clearly connect widely. The fact he is the best-selling solo artist in US history proves his musical instincts ring true for mainstream audiences regardless of traditionalist complaints.

Genuine Personality

Many supporters believe perceptions that Brooks’ enthusiasm and emotional displays on stage are contrived are unfair mischaracterizations. Most fans view his upbeat persona and connections with audiences as genuine reflections of his personality.

Artistry in Live Performances

Fans praise Brooks’ talents breathing energy and artistry into covers and older hits with his unique spin on phrasings, arrangements, and delivery each night. Regardless of song source quality, his performance artistry elevates the live experience substantially for supporters.

Generous Charitable Nature

Brooks also draws praise for quietly donating large sums to charitable causes like building housing for Habitat for Humanity. Fans argue this generosity reflects high integrity rather than egoism or selfishness as some critics suggest.


In the end, Brook’s tremendous commercial achievements speak for themselves – his musical instincts clearly resonate with millions globally. Yet he also evokes more polarized reactions than many less bombastic stars.

Perhaps much of the animosity stems less from Brooks himself versus colliding notions of what country should represent. To traditionalists, the genre reflects rural authenticity; to modernists like Brooks, evolution and showmanship are assets. Reconciling those differences may be impossible.

Yet the passion on both sides affirms Brooks’ enduring cultural relevance. And even critics would likely acknowledge no one can question the sincerity of the joy between Brooks and his fans night after night in sold-out arenas worldwide. For years top come Brooks will likely remain one of country music’s most fascinating lightning rods – wildly popular yet also uniquely polarizing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions related to the critiques and controversies around country star Garth Brooks’ career and reception:

Why do some country fans dislike Garth Brooks?

Some traditionalist country fans view Brooks as inauthentic because of his bombastic, arena rock-influenced live shows, elaborate costumes/sets, and adoption of pop-style production. They seem him as pandering and watering down classic country’s sound and style.

What did Garth Brooks do that upset fans and the country industry?

Brooks stoked controversy by making his catalog exclusive to his own digital store GhostTunes for years rather than mainstream services. This frustrated fans. And there were rumors of poor treatment of some band members over the years that damaged his reputation in the industry.

Is Garth Brooks lip sync controversy why people turned on him?

His lip syncing of the national anthem after technical issues at a 2010 concert did upset many fans who viewed it as dishonest and egotistical. However, most modern major stars have survived similar incidents, so this was likely just one small piece of larger perceived inauthenticity.

Do country legends dislike Garth Brooks?

There are mixed opinions, but some traditional-leaning artists have subtly critiqued Brooks before. George Jones once said he didn’t consider Brooks “country at all,” for example. So older generation performers are likely split based on sound preferences.

Why do Garth Brooks fans still love him so passionately?

His legions of ongoing supporters point to quantified measures of historic success like record sales showing his talents clearly resonate mainstream audiences. And they perceive attacks on his authenticity and generosity as unfair, viewing his emotional performances and charitable efforts as genuine.

Leave a Comment