GARTH BROOKS and Alan Jackson both burst onto the country music scene in 1989, but the leading lights of country have bad blood between them, say sources.
“Alan is the classic, old-style country music performer who believes it’s his job to stand at the microphone and sing, tell a story,” a source told The ENQUIRER. “But Garth invented that high-octane kind of performing they call Arena Rock Country, and Alan can’t stand it.
“He’s always thought Garth was a show-off who actually hurt country music over the years.”
Brooks became country music’s kingpin by selling more than 150 million albums. But Jackson has sold nearly 60 million and has scored 35 No. 1 hits compared to Garth’s 20. And the ultra-competitive Brooks, 52, has long seen 55-year-old Jackson as his main competition.
“He knows Alan doesn’t care for him, so he wants to beat him, show him who’s boss,” said the source.
The two have largely steered a wide berth from each other over the years. Barely a word passed between them when they were inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame at the same ceremony in 2011, and they posed for pictures with several people standing between them.
Now, Brooks is launching a career comeback after taking 13 years off and is ready to resume his place at the top of the country heap.
“Garth knows he can wave his hand and sell out a 20,000-seat arena in five minutes, while Alan’s career is fading,” said the source. “He figures he’s getting the last laugh.”