Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Class of 89

On December 31st 1989, Chicago Tribune writer, Gary Graff wrote an article about country music entitled "The Class of 1989"

In the article he suggested that country music will become a major player in the music industry in the states during the 90's.

He mentioned four debut albums, Clint Black's Killin' time, Travis Tritt's Country club, Alan Jackson's, Here in the real world and Garth Brooks's self titled debut.

He wrote that these four albums fell under the mainstream's music rader, and the 90's will see a boom in country music that has never been seen before, suggesting that one of these four artists may became the biggest star of the 90's.

He thought it would be Clint Black, with maybe Garth Brooks being a dark horse.

He was partially right, country music ruled the roost in the 90's in the USA, and one man walked proud and tall over every artist from any genre, that artist being the dark horse, Mr Garth Brooks.

Its hard to explain to New Zealanders about country music, thanks to a pathetic kiwi media who either toally ignored the genre during its peak in the 90's or just wrote sterotypical articles bagging the art form as music for a bunch of redneck hicks.

Well it was country music that touched on issues such as gay rights, woman rights, racial harmony, political upheaval, while rap music was concertating on exploiting woman and rock was using violent images.

Its also hard to explain to the New Zealand media, the commercial success that country artists had in the 90's over their rap/pop counterparts, we were always told that this rock artist and rap artist were ruling the roost in music, when in reality it was your country artists who were selling out stadiums and having their albums go diamond status.

In April of this year, it will be twenty years since the now retired Garth's debut album came out.

His achievements are too many too list here. I just hope something special is done for him, he changed a whole genre during one decade, he stayed grounded, he turned around a flagging music industry and set the bar higher than any other artist had before from any genre.

When Gary Graff wrote his story, he kinda knew that country will have a superstar of its own, he could never invisioned though that, that artist would break the records he did, no one could.

As TimMcGraw once said, the whole industry owes Garth a big thank you.

Yes music did change in 1989, thanks to the likes of the brilliant writing of Clint Black, the sweet sounds of Alan Jackson, the harsh sounds of Travis Tritt, and the genius of Garth Brooks.

I just hope in April, on the 20th anniversary of the class of 1989, something is done to recognize its head boy.

He deserves it.

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