Country music star Toby Keith has died, his social media websites and web site introduced early Tuesday. He was 62.
The websites mentioned he “passed peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”
Keiththat he’d been present process therapy for abdomen most cancers because the earlier fall.
Thetweeted on the time that he’d had surgical procedure and chemotherapy and radiation within the prior six months.
“So far, so good,” the Oklahoma native mentioned. “I would like time to breathe, recuperate and calm down.
“I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”
Sometimes a polarizing determine in nation music, the 6-foot-4 Keith broke out within the nation increase years of the Nineteen Nineties, crafting an id round his macho, pro-American swagger and writing songs that followers liked to listen to. During the course of his profession, he publicly clashed with different celebrities and journalists and sometimes pushed again in opposition to document executives who needed to easy his tough edges.
He was identified for his overt patriotism on put up 9/11 songs like “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” and boisterous barroom tunes like “I Love This Bar” and “Red Solo Cup.” He had a strong booming voice, a tongue-in-cheek humorousness and a spread that carried love songs in addition to consuming songs.
Among his 20 No. 1 Billboard hits had been “How Do You Like Me Now?!,” “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” “As Good As I Once Was,” “My List” and “Beer for My Horses,” a duet with Willie Nelson.
Long highway to stardom
Keith labored as a roughneck within the oil fields of Oklahoma as a younger man, then performed semi-pro soccer earlier than launching his profession as a singer.
“I write about life, and I sing about life, and I don’t overanalyze things,” Keith informed The Associated Press in 2001, following the success of his tune “I’m Just Talking About Tonight.”
Keith realized good classes within the booming oil fields, which toughened him up, but additionally confirmed him the worth of cash.
“The money to be made was unbelievable,” Keith informed The Associated Press in 1996. “I came out of high school in 1980 and they gave me this job December of 1979, $50,000 a year. I was 18-years-old.”
But the home oil discipline business collapsed and Keith had not saved. “It about broke us,” he mentioned. “So I just learned. I’ve taken care of my money this time.”
He spent a few seasons as a defensive finish for the Oklahoma City Drillers, a farm workforce for the now-defunct United States Football League. But he discovered constant cash taking part in music together with his band all through the crimson grime roadhouse circuit in Oklahoma and Texas.
“All through this whole thing, the only constant thing we had was music,” he mentioned. “But it’s hard to sit back and say, ‘I’m going to go make my fortune singing music, or writing music. I had no contacts.”‘
Eventually his path took him to Nashville, the place he attracted the curiosity of Mercury Records head Harold Shedd, who was greatest often known as a producer for the hit group Alabama. Shedd introduced him to Mercury, the place he launched his platinum debut document “Toby Keith,” in 1993.
“Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” his breakout hit, was performed 3 million instances on radio stations, making it essentially the most performed nation tune of the Nineteen Nineties.
But the label’s deal with world star Shania Twain overshadowed the remainder of the roster and Keith felt the executives had been attempting to push him in a pop course.
“They were trying to get me to compromise, and I was living a miserable existence,” Keith informed the AP. “Everybody was trying to mold me into something I was not.”
After a collection of albums that produced hits like “Who’s That Man,” and the duvet of Sting’s “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying,” Keith moved to DreamWorks Records in 1999.
That’s when his multi-week “How Do You Like Me Now?!” took off and have become his first tune to crossover to Top 40 charts. In 2001, he received male vocalist of the 12 months and album of the 12 months on the Academy of Country Music Awards, exclaiming from the stage: “I’ve waited a long time for this. Nine years!”
Songs like “I Wanna Talk About Me,” a spoken-word tune written by Bobby Braddock a couple of man annoyed by a talkative associate, received him consideration for its similarity to the cadence of rap, which Keith dismissed. “They’re going to call it a rap song, (although) there ain’t nobody doing rap who would call it rap,” he informed “Billboard” journal in 2001.
No stranger to controversy
Keith typically wore his politics on his sleeve, particularly after the terrorist assaults on U.S. soil in 2001, and early on mentioned he was a conservative Democrat, however later claimed he was an impartial. He’s performed at occasions for Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and, the latter giving him a National Medal of the Arts in 2021. His songs and his blunt opinions generally brought about him controversy, which he appeared to courtroom.
His 2002 tune, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” included a risk —”We’ll put a boot in your ass – It’s the American way” — to anybody who dared to mess with America.
The tune received pulled from a patriotic ABC Fourth of July particular after producers deemed it too indignant for the present. Singer-songwriter Steve Earle known as Keith’s tune “pandering to people’s worst instincts at a time they are hurt and scared.”
Then there was the feud between Keith and The Chicks (previously known as the Dixie Chicks), who grew to become a goal of Keith’s ire when singer Natalie Maines informed a crowd that they had been ashamed of then President George W. Bush. Maines had additionally beforehand known as Keith’s tune “ignorant.”
Keith, who had beforehand claimed that he supported any artist’s freedom to voice their opinion about politics, used a doctored photograph of Maines with a picture of Saddam Hussein at his live shows, additional ramping up indignant followers.
Maines responded by sporting a shirt with the letters “FUTK” onstage on the 2003 ACM Awards, which many individuals believed was a vulgar message to Keith.
He additionally publicly known as out actor Ethan Hawke, who had written a narrative in “Rolling Stone” that described an argument between Kris Kristofferson and an unnamed nation star that sounded quite a bit like Keith. During a backstage press convention throughout an awards present, Keith was livid at Hawke (and reporters for repeating the story) for what he known as a “fictitious (expletive) lie.”
Keith, who acknowledged that he holds onto grudges, walked out of the ACM Awards in 2003 early as a result of he had gotten snubbed in earlier classes, inflicting him to overlook out when he was introduced as entertainer of the 12 months. Vince Gill accepted on his behalf. He got here again the following 12 months and received the highest prize for a second 12 months in a row, together with prime male vocalist and album of the 12 months for “Shock ‘n Y’all.”
His pro-military stance wasn’t simply fodder for songs, nonetheless. He went on 11 USO excursions to go to and play for troops serving abroad. He additionally helped to raised, together with constructing a house in Oklahoma City for youths and their households who’re battling most cancers.
After Universal Music Group acquired DreamWorks, Keith began anew once more, beginning his personal document label, Show Dog, in 2005 with document government Scott Borchetta, who launched his personal label Big Machine on the identical time.
“Probably 75 percent of the people in this town think I’ll fail, and the other 25 percent hope I fail,” he mentioned that 12 months.
The label later grew to become Show Dog-Universal Music and had Keith, Trace Adkins, Joe Nichols, Josh Thompson, Clay Walker and Phil Vassar on its roster.
His later hits included “Love Me If You Can,” “She Never Cried In Front of Me,” and “Red Solo Cup.” He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015.
He was honored by the efficiency rights group BMI in November 2022 with the BMI Icon award, a number of months after saying his abdomen most cancers prognosis.
“I always felt like that the songwriting was the most important part of this whole industry,” Keith informed the group of fellow singers and writers.