Garth Brooks' The Chase turns 30 years old later this year, and the country music legend still stands by the album, which was controversial in its time. Brooks reflected on the album, his fourth LP, in a Friday interview with PopCulture, and said that he's extremely proud of it. The Chase had a long road to reaching RIAA Diamond status, which made the moment it hit the mark in January 2020 even more rewarding for Brooks.
"It's my favorite of the Diamonds because it was the one that just got the living hell kicked out of it for 'We Shall Be Free,'" Brook exclusively told PopCulture.com. "It really started out in a hole. And people were like, 'Oh, he's changed his music.' I didn't change my music. It's just another side of me. And so 'We Shall Be Free' was the most loving [record] we'd ever done. And because of that, it took a beating. I can't tell you how proud I was when that Diamond came across. They said it was The Chase; s—, I cried because these are like your children, in a way. So to see that thing reach Diamond status really made me even more proud than when No Fences or Double Live or anything was lucky enough to get there."
The Chase's album cycle kicked off with the release of the "We Shall Be Free" single on Aug. 31, 1992. It was divisive to many country music listeners due to the song's slower, piano-based sound and its lyrical references to LGBTQ equality and tolerance of religions aside from Christianity. This reception limited radio airplay and somewhat stunted response to The Chase as a whole upon its release on Sept. 14, 1992. Despite the core country audience taking issue with the track, it became an anthem for acceptance and has endured all these years later. The song, which Brooks co-wrote with Stephanie Davis, notably anchored an emotional moment at the 2021 Kennedy Centers Honors ceremony. Gladys Knight covered the song, with Brooks, who was being honored that night, tearing up.
On Jan. 23, 2020, The Chase was officially certified as 10x Multi-Platinum, meaning it sold 10 million units and is considered Diamond. (One unit equals one sale, 10 song downloads or 1,500 streams.) It was Brooks' eighth Diamond album, following Garth Brooks, No Fences, Ropin' The Wind, The Hits, Double Live, Sevens and The Ultimate Hits. Brooks achieved his ninth Diamond album on Aug. 14, 2021, when In Pieces hit the benchmark.
While the record sales will keep pouring in for Brooks, his current focus is on touring. He's in the midst of The Stadium Tour, which will next see Brooks play Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on April 23. After that, Brooks has a steady lineup of dates throughout 2022, including stops in Baton Rouge, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City and Charlotte.