Garth Brooks is a country music icon, one of the biggest names in the genre thanks to his astronomical success in the 1990s. But while he comes from a musical family — Brooks' mother, Colleen, was an artist on Capitol Records in the 1950s — his own career path wasn't obvious at first.

Athletic in high school, Brooks attended Oklahoma State University on a track scholarship and graduated with an advertising degree. His first move to Nashville was brief — as in, "24 hours or so" brief — but Brooks' second move, in 1987, stuck. Two years later, he released his self-titled debut album and found instant success.

Now, Brooks is one of the best-selling artists of all time, with seven diamond-certified albums to his name. He's won numerous Grammys, ACM Awards and CMA Awards, among other honors, and is a Country Music Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame member. Following a retirement in the 2000s, Brooks has returned to the stage in a massive way.

How He's Changed! Garth Brooks' Storied Career in Pictures: