Slacker Logo

Toby Keith

ON AIR
Advertisement
Advertisement

Bio

Toby Keith spent the '90s as a solid, workmanlike country star who met with considerable chart success, yet never quite broke free of the neo-traditionalist pack to become a household name like Garth Brooks or Alan Jackson. That all changed in 2002 when he recorded "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)," a response to September 11 that became one of country's most highly charged political statements since Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee." The media furor ensured that even people with no knowledge of country music still knew him as "the guy with the 'boot in the ass' song," and helped make Keith a genuine phenomenon. Yet he'd been recording for nearly a decade prior and already had several chart-topping country singles to his credit. Keith was born Toby Keith Covel in Clinton, Oklahoma, in 1961 and grew up mostly on a farm in Moore, near the outskirts of Oklahoma City. He took up guitar at age eight, inspired by the country musicians who played at the supper club his grandmother ran. He listened to his father's Bob Wills records and fell in love with Haggard's music. He worked as a rodeo hand while in high school, and after graduation, he found work in the nearby oil fields. In the meantime, he formed the Easy Money Band and played Alabama-style country-rock in area honky tonks. After about three years, the oil industry hit a major downturn, and Keith turned to playing semi-pro football for a USFL farm team, even trying out (unsuccessfully) for the short-lived league's Oklahoma City franchise. Following two years as a football player, Keith decided to focus on music and adopted a much more rigorous touring schedule. He cut a few records for local indie labels, and his demo tape eventually found its way to one-time Alabama producer Harold Shedd, who helped Keith land a deal with Mercury. Keith's self-titled debut album was released in 1993 and made him an out-of-the-box success with its chart-topping single "Should've Been a Cowboy." Three more songs from the record -- "Wish I Didn't Know Now," "A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action," and "He Ain't Worth Missing" -- made the Top Five, and the album sold over two million copies. "Who's That Man," the lead single from his second album, Boomtown, was released in late 1994 and became his second number one; Boomtown hit stores in early 1995 and went gold on the strength of further Top Ten hits "Upstairs Downtown" and "You Ain't Much Fun." Keith followed it later that year with the holiday record Christmas to Christmas and returned with the proper album Blue Moon in 1996. Its first two singles, "A Woman's Touch" and "Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine on You," went Top Ten, and the third, "Me Too," gave Keith his third number one, also helping the album go platinum. Released in 1997, Dream Walkin' marked his first collaboration with prolific producer James Stroud, with whom he would work regularly from then on. "We Were in Love" and the title track were both Top Five hits, as was "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying," a duet with Sting. However, Keith longed for an even bigger breakthrough, and he was growing dissatisfied with Mercury's promotional efforts. In 1999, he left the label and followed Stroud over to the Nashville division of DreamWorks. Keith's label debut, How Do You Like Me Now?!, appeared in late 1999 and started to bring him the wider recognition he felt poised for. The title cut went to number one on the country charts and brought him his first Top 40 pop hit; its follow-up, "Country Comes to Town," went Top Five, and "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This" also hit number one. Overall, the album had a rough, brash attitude that helped give Keith a stronger identity as a performer. It was also the first to bring him those long-desired major industry awards, when in 2001 the Academy of Country Music named him Male Vocalist of the Year and named How Do You Like Me Now?! its Album of the Year. In the meantime, Keith became more visible in the mainstream media, appearing in cameos on Touched by an Angel and in a Dukes of Hazzard TV reunion movie, as well as co-starring in a series of telephone commercials. Later in 2001, his follow-up album, Pull My Chain, became his first to top the country charts and also his first Top Ten pop album. It spun off three number one singles: "I'm Just Talkin' About Tonight," "I Wanna Talk About Me," and "My List." Keith was already a burgeoning superstar when he recorded "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" in the summer of 2002. A raging response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, the song struck a fierce chord with aggressively patriotic listeners, while others condemned it as knee-jerk jingoism. The whole controversy came to a head when ABC News anchor Peter Jennings objected to Keith's scheduled performance on a network Fourth of July schedule. Keith was axed from the guest list, and the ensuing media flap proved to be a publicity coup. Meanwhile, the song went to number one on the country charts and crossed over into the pop Top 25. All of this set the stage for Unleashed, which sold like hotcakes upon its release later in 2002, debuting at number one on both the country and pop charts. "Who's Your Daddy?" was a number one country hit, and the Willie Nelson duet "Beer for My Horses" also made the country Top Ten. In 2003, Keith released Shock'n Y'All, which, despite its title, was chock-full of enough rough-and-rowdy hits to once again connect hugely with heartland America. Honkytonk University followed in May 2005, the same year that Mercury released Chronicles, a collection of three of his biggest albums: Toby Keith, Boomtown, and Blue Moon. After departing from Universal and longtime producer Stroud, Keith established his own company, Show Dog Nashville, and in 2006 released the label's first record, the number two hit White Trash with Money. A year later he released Big Dog Daddy, the first album he produced himself, and also a holiday album, A Classic Christmas. Keith continued his steady pace over the next few years, releasing That Don't Make Me a Bad Guy in 2008, American Ride in 2009, and Bullets in the Gun in 2010. Clancy's Tavern, which appeared in 2011, was inspired by his grandmother’s club, which he visited frequently as a child. Keith was also selected Artist of the Decade at the American Country Awards in December of 2011. Clancy's Tavern gave Keith a pair of hits in "Made in America" and "Red Solo Cup" -- the former topped Billboard's country charts; the latter reached the Billboard Top 40. In the fall of 2012 he returned with another new album, Hope on the Rocks, which was preceded by the single "I Like Girls That Drink Beer." Neither "I Like Girls That Drink Beer" nor the album's second single "Hope on the Rocks" went further than 17 on the charts, and Keith soon returned with his 17th album, Drinks After Work. Released almost a year to the day after Hope on the Rocks, Drinks After Work appeared in late October 2013; it was preceded by the single release of its title track, which peaked at number 28 on the country charts. The follow-up, "Shut Up and Hold On," made it to number 49. Keith released "Drunk Americans," the first single from his forthcoming album, in October 2014 but it took another full year before 35 MPH Town materialized, preceded by the title track as a single in the spring of 2015. ~ Steve Huey
Read All Read Less

Albums by
Toby Keith

false

    1 song

    On Air

    A Few More Cowboys

    10 songs

    On Air

    35 MPH Town

    10 songs

    On Air

    Drinks After Work

    12 songs

    On Air

    Drinks After Work

    10 songs

    On Air

    Hope on the Rocks

    14 songs

    On Air

    Hope on the Rocks [Deluxe Edition]

    11 songs

    On Air

    Clancy's Tavern

    15 songs

    On Air

    Clancy's Tavern [Deluxe Edition]

    10 songs

    On Air

    Bullets in the Gun

    14 songs

    On Air

    Bullets in the Gun [Deluxe Edition]

    12 songs

    On Air

    American Ride

    11 songs

    On Air

    That Don't Make Me a Bad Guy

    11 songs

    On Air

    Big Dog Daddy

    12 songs

    On Air

    White Trash with Money

    12 songs

    On Air

    Honkytonk University

    14 songs

    On Air

    Greatest Hits 2

    10 songs

    On Air

    Boomtown

    12 songs

    On Air

    Shock'n Y'All

    13 songs

    On Air

    Unleashed

    13 songs

    On Air

    Pull My Chain

    12 songs

    On Air

    How Do You Like Me Now?!

    10 songs

    On Air

    Blue Moon

    12 songs

    On Air

    Christmas to Christmas

    10 songs

    On Air

    Toby Keith

See All Albums

Top Songs by
Toby Keith

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Red Solo Cup
  3.   Beer for My Horses
  4.   Made in America
  5.   Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)
  6.   American Soldier
  7.   Beers Ago
  8.   American Ride
  9.   I Love This Bar
  10.   A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action
  11.   Who's Your Daddy?
  12.   I Like Girls That Drink Beer
  13.   As Good as I Once Was
  14.   How Do You Like Me Now?
  15.   You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This
  16.   Wish I Didn't Know Now
  17.   Weed With Willie
  18.   Get Drunk and Be Somebody
  19.   Whiskey Girl
  20.   God Love Her
  21.   Should've Been a Cowboy
  22.   Stays in Mexico
  23.   I'm Just Talkin' About Tonight
  24.   You Ain't Much Fun
  25.   Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Toby Keith

    On Air

    Toby Keith: The Count Up

    On Air

    Cincinnati Country Christmas

    On Air

    Country Christmas

    On Air

    55 Greatest Country Songs of the Century

    On Air

    4th of July Celebration

    On Air

    Slacker 20: All About the Benjamins

    On Air

    She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy

    On Air

    Big Dave's Christmas Favorites

    On Air

    Party Country

    On Air

    '90s Country

    On Air

    Outlaw Country

    On Air

    Country 4th Of July

    On Air

    The Country Vault

    On Air

    Frontline Radio

    On Air

    77 Greatest Country Duets

    On Air

    50 Most Embarrassing Facebook Songs

    On Air

    55 Songs You Think Suck

    On Air

    Tim McGraw: DNA

    On Air

    Country Summer

    On Air

    Burn One Down

    On Air

    Country Hits

    On Air

    Country: '90s and Today

    On Air

    Downhome Cookin'