* In the U.S., the RIAA actually certifies multi-disc sets based on the number of discs x the number of the collection sold. In other words, since this set sold 10 million, the RIAA actually certified it for sales of 20 million.
1 5 --
Much Too Young to Feel This Damn Old (3/25/89) #8 CW
If Tomorrow Never Comes (9/9/89) #1 CW
The Dance (5/5/90) #1 CW, #36 UK
Friends in Low Places (8/18/90) #1 CW
Unanswered Prayers (11/3/90) #1 CW
Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House (2/9/91) #1 CW
The Thunder Rolls (5/18/91) #1 CW
Rodeo (8/17/91) #3 CW
Shameless (10/19/91) #1 CW
Papa Loved Mama (2/1/92) #3 CW
The River (5/2/92) #1 CW
We Shall Be Free (9/12/92) #12 CW
That Summer (5/8/93) #1 CW
Ain’t Going Down ‘Til the Sun Comes Up (8/7/93) #1 CW
Callin’ Baton Rouge (9/18/93) #70 CW
American Honky-Tonk Bar Association (9/11/93) #1 CW
Standing Outside the Fire (9/18/93) #3 CW, #28 UK
The Fever (11/25/95) #23 CW
The Beaches of Cheyenne (12/9/95) #1 CW
Longneck Bottle (11/22/97) #1 CW
Two Pina Coladas (12/6/97) #1 CW
To Make You Feel My Love (5/16/98) #1 CW, #8 AC
It’s Your Song * (11/14/98) #9 CW, #47a US
Tearin’ It Up and Burnin’ It Down * (12/5/98) #63 CW
Wild As the Wind * (12/5/98) #65 CW
* These songs were new to this album; otherwise all the chart information above refers to the original studio releases of these songs.
“As the ‘90s drew to a close, their most popular artist was hell-bent on shattering all the sales records that lay in his path. He had already proven himself not only to be the most popular country artist, but he held the record for the most popular male recording artist, demolishing the record held by one of his idols, Billy Joel. All that was left was the Holy Grail – toppling the Beatles' status as the best-selling artist of all time. A difficult task, to be sure, but one that was conceivably within Garth Brooks’ reach” (Erlewine).
“To make sure he reached this milestone, Brooks began releasing multi-disc sets, since each individual disc within a set counts as a unit toward the final sales, thereby insuring an inflated sales total. The five-disc box The Limited Series was the first in this series, followed by Double Live, Brooks’ first live album, in the fall of 1998. The generic titles of both sets suggest that both albums shouldn’t be viewed as anything more than product, since Garth couldn’t be bothered to think of an actual title; he just called it what it is” (Erlewine).
“The title alone isn’t what suggests that Double Live is product” (Erlewine). There was also “the elaborate marketing plan – where the disc retails for the low price of $13.99 during the ‘holiday’ season, where the album has a different cover, photos and Brooks-penned liner notes every million copies pressed” (Erlewine). On top of that, “the cassette has completely different artwork than the CD [which] ensures that he’ll move as many units as possible in as short a time as possible…Initial reports suggested that Brooks, his label EMI, and his favorite retailer, Wal-Mart, planned to move a million copies in one week” (Erlewine).
“It could be seen that this method is designed as some sort of treat for his fans, since it offers them an unprecedented selection of choices (that’s Brooks' point of view), but it could also be seen [and more appropriately] as a way to milk sales out of an unnecessary album. Sure, Double Live is a professionally entertaining album with a few nice bonuses – including extra verses for Friends in Low Places and The Thunder Rolls, plus three new songs: the dedicated-to-mama It’s Your Song, the Trisha Yearwood duet Wild as the Wind, and the rocker Tearin’ It Up (And Burnin’ It Down) – but much of this record is either identical to the studio counterparts or offers nothing new whatsoever” (Erlewine).
“Brooks makes no attempt to camouflage his studio trickery – it's clear that the intros toTwo Pina Coladas, The River and We Shall Be Free are pasted on in the studio – and even when the crowd intrudes on The Fever, it feels forced, not like the genuine kinetic energy that can be captured on a live recording” (Erlewine).
“Part of the problem is that the album is a compilation, selecting 25 songs from 25 different dates. Even with studio polish (and there is quite a lot of that), an album culled from such a wide variety of sources can’t help but feel patchwork, and Double Live does. Despite the handful of new twists on familiar material, which will surely satisfy the diehards, Double Live simply isn’t that interesting for the average Garth fan. It’s the kind of record that’s hyped as an event upon its original release, but will be seen as little more than a curio a few years after its release” (Erlewine).