Best Known For
Country music sensation Toby Keith is best known for his rousing anthems to the U.S. soldiers serving in the Middle East.
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In the early '90s, Keith signed with Mercury Records, and by 1993 his self-titled debut album was certified platinum. His follow-up records, Boomtown and Blue Moon, were equally successful thanks to such popular hits as "Who's That Man" and "Me Too." In 1997 he teamed with Sting to record "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying," which earned the duo a Grammy nomination. More success followed with the 1999 album How Do You Like Me Now?!, which won two Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards in 2000. His 2002 album, Unleashed, sold 3 million copies and included a hit duet with Willie Nelson, "Beer for My Horses."
In 2001, Keith's father was killed in a traffic accident. The incident, combined with the events of September 11, prompted Keith to write the controversial "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)," which was hugely popular, particularly among military personnel.
Keith was named Entertainer of The Year by the Academy of Country Music in 2002 and 2003. He received an additional surge of media attention in 2003 when he engaged in a public clash with Natalie Maines, the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks. The two ended up trading barbs with Maines saying that "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" made "country music sound ignorant." Keith took even more offense to Maine saying that she was "ashamed" of President George W. Bush at a concert. In his own concerts, he had pictures of Maines as Saddam Hussein projected on a video screen while he played his hit patriotic anthem.
Shock'n Y'All (2003), which reached the top of the country and pop album charts. The recording's title is a play on the military expression, "shock and awe," from the Iraq war, and his ode to the troops, "American Soldier," was a big success. He also continued to cultivate his good ol' boy image with such tracks as "I Love This Bar" and to show a sense of humor with "Weed with Willie," which told the story about getting high with Willie Nelson. He and Nelson won an ACM Award in 2004 for the video for their duet, "Beer for My Horses."
His next effort, Honkytonk University (2005), featured a duet with country music icon Merle Haggard on "She Ain't Hooked on Me No More." The biggest single from the album was the ballad "As Good As I Once Was," which helped the album top the country and pop charts.
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