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Garth Brooks To Retire

The king of country music is making plans to retire.

Garth Brooks, the biggest-selling act in country music history, made the surprise announcement in an interview Wednesday on The Nashville Network's Crook & Chase show.

Brooks said that at the end of next year he would have a big party where he will "probably" announce his retirement. He said that his priorities have changed and he wants to focus on his wife and daughters.

"I never, ever thought in my life I'd say this, but music is not the first thing in my life anymore," said Brooks, 37. "Those girls somehow come along and they just take your energy and all of a sudden all you want to do is you want to do things that make them smile."

Brooks, whose daughters with wife, Sandy, are 3, 5 and 7, said he will "lay low" for nine or 10 months, plan a big party and "probably announce our retirement at the end of next year."

Brooks did not elaborate on what "retirement" means. He indicated he no longer would tour but still would write songs and, perhaps, movie scripts.

He said that when his daughters are grown he might return to touring, "But right now, definitely I've got to step up and take care of my responsibility."

A spokeswoman for Capitol Records, Brooks' record company, declined comment. Brooks last toured a year ago, playing 100 cities and selling more than 5.3 million tickets.

In August 1997, he performed before hundreds of thousands in New York's Central Park.

In the last 10 years, Brooks has sold 95 million records. Hit singles include The Dance and Friends in Low Places. His top-selling albums were No Fences in 1990, Ropin' the Wind in 1991 and last year's Double Live..

Brooks created the role of an Australian pop singer on his latest album: Garth Brooks in ... the Life of Chris Gaines.