Toby Keith passes away at 62
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Toby Keith passes away at 62

Tuesday, February 6, 2024 – Toby Keith, who had hits ranging from "Courtesy of the Red White and Blue (The Angry American)" to "Should've Been a Cowboy," passed away Monday night at 62, following his bout with stomach cancer.

His family posted on his website Tuesday morning, "Toby Keith passed away peacefully last night February 5th surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage."

The Oklahoma native went public in June 2022 that he was being treated for stomach cancer.

Keith had 10 number one albums on the country charts during his career. He also scored 20 number one hits, starting with his very first single, "Should've Been a Cowboy," the most played country song of the 1990s, and ending with "Made in America" in 2011.

Twice, Keith topped the country song charts for six weeks - with "Beer for My Horses," a 2003 duet with Willie Nelson, and "As Good as I Once Was" (2005).

While a long-running hitmaker, Keith did not shy away from controversy, both politically and going against the anti-Nashville establishment at times.

Keith was most famously in a public spat with the Dixie Chicks after lead singer Natalie Maines said she was "ashamed" to be from the U.S. during a concert in London due to President George W. Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq.

Maines called Keith's song "ignorant, and it makes country music sound ignorant".

Keith did not shy away. At his concerts, he displayed a doctored photo of Maines with late Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein.

Maines hit back at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2003 with a t-shirt with the letters "FUTK."

He had a number of patriotic songs during his career including "American Soldier" and "The Taliban Song."

"Some might say, well, he's waving the flag again," Keith said in a 2003 interview with Country Standard Time. "After 'Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,' I would meet 8 or 10, 12, 15 soldiers every night after my shows. That's what I'm around every night, and I'm inspired by what's around me. So, 'American Soldier' was completely inspired by being around their families every night."

Toby Keith Covel was born on July 8, 1961 in Clinton, Okla. He got his first guitar at eight and was exposed to musicians at his grandmother's supper club in Fort Smith, Ark. Keith's family eventually moved to Moore, Okla., a suburb of Oklahoma City, where he grew up.

After graduating high school, he worked in the oil fields and formed a band on the side, the Easy Money Band. After being laid off from work in oil, he played semi-pro football with the Oklahoma City Drillers, and eventually toured Texas and Oklahoma with the Easy Money Band.

Keith went to Nashville in the early 1990s trying to secure a record deal, but failed and returned home. However, his luck changed when a flight attendant and fan gave a copy of his demo tape to Harold Shedd, a Mercury Records executive, while he was on a flight she was working. Shedd checked out Keith live and inked him to a record deal with Mercury.

"Should've Been a Cowboy" was released on Feb. 12, 1993, the first song he put out. By June, it hit number one. Keith put out his self-titled debut that year with three more Top 5 country hits - "He Ain't Worth Missing," "A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action" and "Wish I Didn't Know Now."

Keith moved to several different labels including Polydor, A&M and then back to Mercury. The hits kept coming. His fourth studio album, "Dream Walkin'," was also his first produced by James Stroud, who was Keith's co-producer until 2005.

Keith had a falling out with Mercury after it rejected several of his songs, and he asked Mercury to terminate his contract.

Next stop was DreamWorks Records. After his first single failed, he asked the label to put out "How Do You Like Me Now?!" The song ended up being one of his biggest hits, staying atop the country song chart for five weeks.

In 2001, Keith won the Academy of Country Music's Top Male Vocalist and Album of the Year awards.

Keith followed up with "Pull My Chain" in 2001. Three singles — "I'm Just Talkin' About Tonight," "I Wanna Talk About Me" and "My List" — all went to number one with the latter two staying there for five weeks. The Country Music Association named "My List" as Single of the Year in 2002.

Keith typically released an album a year for a number of years. In 2002, he put out "Unleashed." "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American)", which Keith wrote in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks by Muslim terrorists in the U.S. "Courtesy...," "Who's Your Daddy?" and "Beer for My Horses" all were chartr toppers.

DreamWorks shuttered in 2005, resulting in Keith forming his own label, ShowDog Nashville. He continued releasing albums and put out music from other artists, including his daughter, Krystal, but he was not as commercially successful.

"Clancy's Tavern" was one of his more successful discs. The album included the single "Made in America," which hit number 1. His biggest hit was "Red Solo Cup," which became Keith's best-peaking crossover, reaching number 15 on the Hot 100.

"Peso in My Pocket" was the 19th and final studio album from Keith, released in 2021.

Keith acted as well, appearing in the movies "Broken Bridges" in 2005 and "Beer For My Cowboy" and 2008.

Keith often performed for U.S. troops overseas.

Keith leaves behind his wife, Tricia, who he married in 1984, and three children.

More news for Toby Keith

CD reviews for Toby Keith

CD review - Peso In My Pocket Toby Keith's core competency is traditional country, and he remains true to it that sound on "Peso in My Pocket," his first studio album in six years and a spawn of the pandemic. One of the first things you notice are the songwriting credits. The Warrren Brothers, Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd help populate part of the roster. The album leads off with It leads off with the catchy regional favorite "Oklahoma Breakdown," it is followed by an ode to better times on "Old School. ...
CD review - The Bus Songs People of a certain age can recall a time in America when a polyester-clad party host would reward late-night diehards with a "blue" record. These vinyl gems (or bootleg tapes) would be funny and frank, both in their language and adult subject matter. They paired well with alcohol, and just owning them could make someone a little cooler by association. Such a concept might mystify millennials who can punch up any song they imagine. But Toby Keith remembers. This collection of ...
CD review - 35 mph Town Way back in the '90's, before millions of dollars, high profile political feuds and moguldom, Toby Keith could really sing and write a pretty good song! News flash! He still can on his nostalgic, 18th album. You can hear an unexpected Merle Haggard influence all over this record. The title cut, "35 MPH" evokes a Haggard vibe. Think "Roots Of My Raising - 2015" as Keith laments the loss of the commonplace, now gone forever. What could've easily been an appeal ...

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