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Toby Keith at Live 8
Toby Keith Covel (born July 8, 1961) is an American
country music singer and songwriter.
Toby Keith was born in Clinton, Oklahoma. His family moved to Moore, Oklahoma
(a suburb of Oklahoma City) when Keith was young. His grandmother owned
a supper club and Keith became interested in the musicians who came there
to play. He got his first guitar at the age of 8. Keith attended Moore
High School where he played on the football team.
Keith graduated from Moore High School and, in 1979, went to work as a
derrick hand in the booming oil fields of Oklahoma. He worked his way
up to become an operation manager. At the age of 20, he formed the Easy
Money band and they played local bars as he continued to work in the oil
industry. At times, he would have to leave in the middle of a gig if he
was paged to work in the oil field.
In 1982, the oil industry in Oklahoma began a rapid decline and Keith
soon found himself unemployed. He fell back on his football training and
played defensive end with the semi-pro Oklahoma City Drillers while continuing
to perform with his band. (The Drillers were an unofficial farm club of
the USFL's Oklahoma Outlaws; Keith tried out for the Outlaws but did not
make the team.) After two years with the Drillers, Keith decided to try
music full time. His family and friends were doubtful he would succeed,
but in 1984, Easy Money began playing the honky tonk circuit in Oklahoma
and Texas. The band cut a single titled "Blue Moon" and the
song received some airplay on local radio stations in Oklahoma.
In 1993, Keith went to Nashville, Tennessee. He distributed copies of
a demo tape the band had made to the many record companies in the city.
There was no interest by any of the record labels and Keith returned home
feeling depressed. Keith had promised himself to have a recording contract
by the time he was 30 years old or give up on music as a career. He was
approaching that age without any prospects for a recording contract.
Fortunately for Keith, a fan of his, who was a flight attendant, gave
a copy of Keith's demo tape to Harold Shedd, a Mercury Records executive,
while he was traveling on a flight she was working. Shedd liked what he
heard, went to see Keith perform live and then signed him to a recording
contract with Mercury. His debut single, "Should've Been a Cowboy"
(1993), went to number 1 on the Billboard country singles chart, and his
self-titled debut album was certified platinum.
Keith moved briefly to Polydor Records and released his next two albums
Boomtown (1994) and Blue Moon (1996). The albums went gold and platinum
respectively. Polydor folded and Keith moved back to Mercury Records,
now called Mercury Nashville, and released his fourth album, Dream Walkin'
(1997). Sting (Gordon Sumner) is featured on Dream Walkin' as additional
vocals on a cover of Sting's song I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying.
He began work on his next album How Do You Like Me Now (1999) at Mercury
but purchased the rights to the album and moved to Dreamworks Nashville
because of creative differences with Mercury. The title song, "How
Do You Like Me Now," was a number 1 single for 5 weeks and the album
went double platinum.
Keith also began doing a series of television advertisements for Telecom
USA for their discount long distance telephone service 10-10-220. Because
of the ads and his latest hit album, Keith became a superstar and household
Keith was the subject of the January 2005 issue of Playboy Magazine's
Playboy Interview. Keith's 2005 plans include a tour with rock guitarist
Ted Nugent, whom Keith met in Iraq while they were both performing in
USO-sponsored shows for the coalition troops.
On March 24, 2001, Keith’s father, H.K. Covel, was killed in a car
accident. That event and the September 11, 2001 attacks prompted Keith
to write the song "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry
American)," a song about his father’s patriotism and faith
in the USA. At first, Keith refused to record the song and only sang it
live at his concerts for military personnel. The reaction was so strong
that the Commandant of the Marine Corps James L. Jones told Keith it was
his duty to record the song. As the lead single from the album Unleashed
(2002), "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" peaked at number
1 over the weekend of July 4. The album spent 65 weeks on the top-10 Billboard
Country Albums chart.
ABC invited Keith to sing "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue"
on a patriotic special it was producing. However, the host of the show,
newsman Peter Jennings, requested Keith soften the lyrics of the song
or choose another song to sing. Keith refused both requests and did not
appear on the special. The rift gave the song an extreme amount of publicity,
which led to many national interviews and public performances of the song.
Keith also had a public feud with the Dixie Chicks over the song. The
lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, publicly stated that
the song was "ignorant, and it makes country music sound ignorant."
Keith defeated the Dixie Chicks to win Entertainer of The Year from the
Academy of Country Music (2002).
Keith considers himself "a conservative Democrat who is sometimes
embarrassed for his party." He endorsed the re-election of President
George W. Bush in 2004 and performed at a Dallas rally on the night before
the election. Keith also endorsed Democrat Dan Boren in his successful
run in Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district.
This article about Toby Keith is posted under the GNU Free Documentation
License. It uses material from this Wikipedia
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