One Hit Wonder: Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks is one of the most successful singers of all time. In the United States alone, he has sold more than 68 million copies of his albums since 1991 (when Nielsen Soundscan began monitoring sales), and only the Beatles have sold more albums in American history. He was largely responsible for the massive growth in popularity of country music during the ’90s, and he has consistently broken box office records when he toured.

Yet, for all of his huge success, he only had one song reach the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Even more incredibly, his only major mainstream hit wasn’t one of his 19 #1 singles on the Hot Country Songs chart. It wasn’t even officially released to country radio and peaked #62 on the country chart as an album cut.

This is the story of the “Lost” one-hit wonder.

By 1998, Garth Brooks was seeking other fields to conquer. After an unsuccessful try-out for the San Diego Padres professional baseball team, he campaigned hard to play the lead in The Lamb, a movie proposal centering around a rock singer with a tragic past. After the movie was green-lit, Brooks decided to release an album of “greatest hits” by Chris Gaines, the character he’d be playing in the film.

It was not one of his smartest decisions.

His massive number of fans were confused. They wanted Garth Brooks to keep making country music and were worried that he was selling out. It didn’t help that Garth (dressing as his fictional alias) was sporting a bad wig and a soulpatch, and looked incredibly odd.

The first single, “Lost in You”, debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at #5, based largely on the sales of the CD single. The track began a gradual descent from there, eventually falling off the chart completely ten weeks later. It was a bizarre choice for a first single. Although a beautiful song, “Lost in You” owed more to ’70s soft-rock than anything remotely current, and did not match up with the bizarre emo appearance of “Chris Gaines” whatsoever.

The subsequent album, titled Greatest Hits and credited to Chris Gaines, was easily the biggest musical disappointment of the year. Within a couple of months, retailers were reportedly offering major discounts on the CD just to clear out unsold stock.

Although the Chris Gaines persona was strange, the album failed, and the movie never was made, “Lost in You” did achieve the one thing no other Garth Brooks song had ever done. It gave him a Top 5 hit on the Hot 100 and officially made him a one-hit wonder for mainstream, non-country fans. And hopefully, he’ll never do something like that again.

The song isn’t bad. It’s just not Garth Brooks.