Country music star Garth Brooks was named artist of the year tonight at the American Music Awards, then abandoned his trophy on the podium.

Brooks, saying there was no disrespect intended, told the audience he didn't believe in the concept of an artist of the year, "so I'm going to leave it here." He then walked away.

Brooks and the reunited Eagles each won three awards in the 23rd annual award ceremonies at the Shrine Auditorium.

Brooks also won, for the fifth year in a row, favorite male country artist and favorite country album for "Hits."

The Eagles won favorite pop rock album for "Hell Freezes Over," favorite adult contemporary artist and favorite pop group trophies.

"Well, I am glad I showed up tonight," said the group's sole representative, Timothy B. Schmit. Other band members were out of town, he said. Schmit suggested backstage that there was a possibility of yet another Eagles album. "The door is not closed, so things are looking good," he said.

The Eagles broke up in 1980 and reunited in 1994, despite singer-drummer Don Henley's declaration that the group would record again "when hell freezes over."

Other multiple winners were Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men and Pearl Jam. Hootie & The Blowfish, named favorite pop-rock new artist, and Boyz II Men were the top contenders, each with five nominations among 21 categories.

Michael Jackson was named the top pop-rock male artist over Elton John and Seal. Alabama was once again the top country group, winning a 19th American Music Award.

Group members were asked backstage whether they ever tired of coming up to the awards podium. "It's like getting tired of eating," said lead singer Randy Owen.

Carey, performing in a leather outfit with flared pants, kicked off a 1960s-'70s fashion theme for the program, which was followed up by favorite new soul R&B artist Brandy performing in shiny blue bell bottoms.

The show prominently featured stars of past decades as well. Neil Diamond sang a new single, "Tennessee Moon," and Lionel Richie performed "Don't Want to Lose You." "It's been a long vacation, believe me," Richie said backstage.

The evening's most emotional moment was Brooks's performance of "The Change" in remembrance of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Tammy Wynette received the special Award of Merit.

The awards are based on a survey of 20,000 record buyers. Following is a list of winners, compiled by Reuter:


Favorite male artist: Michael Jackson

Favorite female artist: Mariah Carey

Favorite band, duo or group: The Eagles

Favorite album: "Hell Freezes Over" - The Eagles

Favorite new artist: Hootie & the Blowfish


Favorite male artist: Garth Brooks

Favorite female artist: Reba McEntire

Favorite band, duo or group: Alabama

Favorite album: "The Hits" - Garth Brooks

Favorite new artist: Shania Twain


Favorite male artist: Luther Vandross

Favorite female artist: Mariah Carey

Favorite band, duo or group: Boyz II Men

Favorite album: "II" - Boyz II Men

Favorite new artist: Brandy


Favorite artist: Pearl Jam


Favorite artist: Coolio


Favorite artist: Pearl Jam


Favorite artist: The Eagles


"The Lion King"


Garth Brooks CAPTION: Artist of the year Garth Brooks with his wife, Sandy, arriving at last night's awards show. CAPTION: Mariah Carey, named favorite soul-R&B female artist and favorite pop-rock female artist, arrives at the show.