Toby Keith

  • Country singer songwriter born Toby Keith Covel in 1961 in Clinton Oklahoma.
  • Keith worked in the oil fields of Oklahoma after graduating from high school. He formed a band, the Easy Money Band, with some friends, playing in local bars when he was not working. In 1982, the oil industry went bust, and he lost his job. He played football on a semi-pro team, and tried out for the USFL’s Oklahoma Outlaws, but didn’t make the team. He focused more on music, and in 1984, the Easy Money Band was playing clubs in Oklahoma and Texas.
  • In the early 90s, approaching 30 years old, Keith moved to Nashville and started performing on the street. He gave copies of his demo tape to many record companies, but no one was interested. He had promised himself to give up on music if wasn’t signed to a recording deal by the time he was 30. As luck would have it, a flight attendant friend of his was working a flight and gave a copy of the demo tape to a record executive who was on the flight. He liked it, went to see Keith perform, and signed him to a contract.
  • Keith released his debut album, the self titled Toby Keith, in 1993. His debut single, Should Have Been a Cowboy, hit #1 on the Country charts, and by the end of the decade, it was the most played country song of the decade on the radio, with over 3 million plays. Four other singles from the album peaked in the top 5 on the Country charts.
  • Between 1994 and 1999, Keith released 6 more studio albums, including a Christmas album of original songs. Four songs from these albums hit #1 – Who’s That Man, Me Too, How Do You Like Me Now?!, and You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This. 
  • Keith’s biggest selling albums were 2002’s Unleashed and 2003’s Shock’n Y’all – both sold over 4 million copies in the U.S., and both reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart. His signature songs were released on these records – Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American), Beer For My Horses (a duet with Willie Nelson), and American Soldier. You can see the themes here – many of Keith’s popular songs are pro-American, honor-the-military, and/or drinking/carousing.
  • All 8 albums released by Keith in the 00s reached #1 on the Country chart, and were in the top 10 on the Hot 200 chart. He had 24 top 10 singles during this period.
  • He remains very popular in his third decade of music. 2011’s Red Solo Cup was his biggest selling single, and highest charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching #15.
  • As I write this on Veteran’s Day, it would be appropriate to honor them – here is Keith’s tribute to the American Soldier. 

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