Recognizing a career which has reached nothing short of mythical standards, the award was presented to Brooks by none other than Cher — and she knew exactly how the superstar felt. The pop diva and fellow Icon Award recipient started off her remarks by calling Brooks “a true music legend, and my friend.”
“The icon award was created a decade ago to honor those outstanding artists who have achieved excellence in the recording studio, and on the concert stage,” Cher explained. “Their passion for music has made them legends in their own time, and that perfectly describes Garth.”
Cher noted that with last year’s “Dive Bar” featuring Blake Shelton, Brooks has now posted at least one Top 10 Billboard single in five straight decades. And that knowing him, he’ll probably try to go for six.
“When I received my award in 2017 it was one of the greatest honors of my life, and a memory I’ll never forget,” she went on. “To know that I was receiving the same honor as Prince and Stevie Wonder just added to the thrill of it all, and I know Garth feels the same way.”
The man himself then took the stage, and showed part of why he’s Billboard’s newest “Icon.” With a full-band behind him and virtual fans on a video screen for him to play off, Brooks delivered a greatest-hits medley of “The Thunder Rolls,” “Callin’ Baton Rouge,” “The River” “Standing Outside the Fire,” “That Summer,” “Dive Bar,” “Friends in Low Places” and “The Dance.” And then he accepted the award with typical self-deprecation.
“Getting to hold the award that you got make me feel cool,” Garth Brooks said, speaking to Cher. “And ‘cool’ is never a word I would use to describe me. … Country radio — you gave me this! And to all those people that fill those stands, thank you. Thank you for my life.”
Check out the rest of the 2020 Billboard Music Award winners here.