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Garth Brooks Talks of Retiring

December 16, 1999 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Garth Brooks, the biggest-selling act in country music history, said Wednesday he ``probably″ will retire next year to spend more time with his three young daughters.

The surprise announcement came during an interview on The Nashville Network’s ``Crook & Chase″ show.

``I never, ever thought in my life I’d say this, but music is not the first thing in my life any more,″ Brooks said. ``Those girls somehow come along and they just take your energy and all of a sudden all you want to do is you want to do things that make them smile.″


Brooks, whose daughters with wife, Sandy, are 3, 5 and 7, said he will ``lay low″ for nine or 10 months, plan a big party and ``probably announce our retirement at the end of next year.″

Brooks, 37, did not elaborate on what ``retirement″ means. He indicated he no longer would tour but still would write songs and, perhaps, movie scripts.

``Writing seems to be what my bag is,″ he said.

He said that when his daughters are grown he might return to touring. ``But right now, definitely I’ve got to step up and take care of my responsibility,″ he said.

A spokeswoman for Capitol Records, Brooks’ record company, said the label would have no comment on his plans.

Brooks has hinted at retirement before. In 1995 he said he might curtail his career because of family obligations, but not long afterward he was back on the road.

Brooks’ retirement would be a huge blow to a country music industry that has seen sales flatten in recent years after huge growth fueled by Brooks, who has sold 97 million albums during a 10-year recording career.

Brooks last toured a year ago, playing 100 cities and selling more than 5.3 million tickets. His top-selling albums are ``No Fences″ in 1990, which sold 16 million copies, and ``Ropin’ the Wind″ in 1991, which sold 14 million.