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According to a report today in Reuters, country superstar Garth Brooks is abandoning his self-enforced nine-year retirement (barring occasional appearances between 2005 and 2007, and a lucrative Wal-Mart deal ) and reportedly preparing a sixteen-week concert run, most likely at Las Vegas’s Wynn Casino.

“I know this is a young industry,” he told gathered press in Nashville today, “so I’m not sure I’ll be welcomed back but, if the fans want me, I still want to pursue my music.” Brooks, who has sold some 123 million records, is the top-selling American artist of all time, second only to the Beatles’ 170 million.

What do you think, readers — did absence make your hearts grow even fonder, or does it feel like he never really left? How do you think his return will hold up to the comebacks of other “retirees” like Cher, Barbra Streisand and Jay-Z?

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