In the Beginning
Toby Keith was born to Carolyn Joan and Hubert K. Covel Jr. in Fort Smith, Arkansas where they would live for a few years during Keith’s grade school days, but eventually, they and their two other children would move to Moore, Oklahoma. Before that, however, Keith began doing odd jobs around his grandmother’s club in Fort Smith where he began to take an interest in the musicians that would pass through and play on the stage. He also took an interest in playing with the band and managed to get his very first guitar when he was just eight years old. Music, however, seemed to be put on hold when he moved with his family to Moore and he took up playing defensive end on the football team. His graduation from high school saw him become an oil derrick hand in the fields, and he eventually became an operation manager. At the age of twenty, was when he worked his way back into music with his friends, forming the ‘Easy Money Band’, which played at local bars while he continued to work in the oil fields. As most people know, the oil industry in Oklahoma declined in 1982, meaning that Toby Keith was out of a job, and was forced to play defensive end with a semi-pro team called the Oklahoma City Drillers. He found himself delving more and more into the music scene, though his friends and family were a bit doubtful that he would succeed as a country music artist. Fortunately, Toby Keith was smart enough to ignore those doubts and go his own way.
Keith would release his first four studio albums between 1993 and 1996 in this order:
In addition to that, he would release a greatest hits package before leaving his first record label: Mercury Records in 1998. All of these albums earned either gold or higher certification with several charged singles. His debut “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” topped the country charts and was the most-played country song of the 1990s. In 1998 Keith signed a contract with DreamWorks Records and released the single “How Do You Like Me Now?!” which was the title of his 1999 album. Once again Toby Keith won the decade with his song being the most played of the 2000s, and his next three albums would yet again become number one hits. Upon the closing of DreamWorks in 2005, Keith found that he had just about enough and founded his own label, ‘Show Dog Nashville’, one that merged with Universal South Records, and through the merged label he has released seven complete studio albums which include:
- White Trash with Money
- Big Dog Daddy
- That Don’t Make Me a Bad Guy
- American Ride
- Bullets in the Gun
- Clancy’s Tavern
- Hope on the Rocks
- Drinks After Work
He also starred in the film Broken Bridges in 2006 and co-starred with Rodney Carrington in Beer for my Horses. All in all, Keith has released a total of seventeen studio albums, two Holiday albums, and four compilations. He has charted sixty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart, with his longest-lasting ones being ‘Beer for my Horses’ and ‘As Good as I Once Was’.
Most Known For
One thing that Keith is widely known for is his song ‘Courtesy of the Red White and Blue’ which he wrote in the wake of 9/11. At first, he refused to actually record the song and would only perform it for service members until a high-ranking military officer told him that it was his duty as an American citizen to record the song. The Dixie Chicks, a female-fronted country band at the time believed his song made country music look ‘stupid’, in their own words, and the lead singer began wearing a shirt that said “FUTK”, which is known to stand for ‘F*CK You Toby Keith’. Toby Keith eventually ended his feud with the Dixie Chicks, stating that there were more important things for him to focus on.
Where Is He Now?
Toby Keith is still touring and has several concert dates in the northeast.