Toby Clark Biography & Facts
Toby Keith Covel (born July 8, 1961), known professionally as Toby Keith, is an American country music singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer. He released his first four studio albums—1993's Toby Keith, 1994's Boomtown, 1996's Blue Moon and 1997's Dream Walkin', plus a Greatest Hits package—for various divisions of Mercury Records before leaving Mercury in 1998. These albums all earned Gold or higher certification, and produced several Top Ten singles, including his debut "Should've Been a Cowboy", which topped the country charts and was the most-played country song of the 1990s. The song has received three million spins since its release, according to Broadcast Music Incorporated.Signed to DreamWorks Records Nashville in 1998, Keith released his breakthrough single "How Do You Like Me Now?!" in late 1999. This song, the title track to his 1999 album of the same name, was the number one country song of 2000, and one of several chart-toppers during his tenure on DreamWorks Nashville. His next three albums, Pull My Chain, Unleashed, and Shock'n Y'all, produced three more number ones each, and all of the albums were certified 4× Platinum. A second Greatest Hits package followed in 2004, and after that, he released Honkytonk University.
When DreamWorks closed in 2005, Keith founded the label Show Dog Nashville, which merged with Universal South Records to become Show Dog-Universal Music in December 2009. He has released ten studio albums through Show Dog/Show Dog-Universal: 2006's White Trash with Money, 2007's Big Dog Daddy, 2008's That Don't Make Me a Bad Guy, 2009's American Ride, 2010's Bullets in the Gun, 2011's Clancy's Tavern, 2012's Hope on the Rocks, 2013's Drinks After Work, 2015's 35 MPH Town, 2017's The Bus Songs, and 2021's Peso in My Pocket, as well as the compilation 35 Biggest Hits in 2008. Keith also made his acting debut in 2006, starring in the film Broken Bridges, and co-starred with comedian Rodney Carrington in the 2008 film Beer for My Horses, inspired by his song of the same name.
Keith has released 19 studio albums, 2 Christmas albums, and 5 compilation albums, totaling worldwide sales of over 40 million albums. He has charted 61 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including 20 number one hits and 22 additional top 10 hits. His longest-lasting number one hits are "Beer for My Horses" (a 2003 duet with Willie Nelson) and "As Good as I Once Was" (2005), at six weeks each. Keith was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Donald Trump in a closed ceremony alongside Ricky Skaggs on January 13, 2021.
Keith was born in Clinton, Oklahoma, to Carolyn Joan (née Ross) and Hubert K. Covel, Jr. He has a sister and a brother. The family lived in Fort Smith, Arkansas, for a few years when Keith was in grade school, but moved to Moore, Oklahoma (a suburb of Oklahoma City), when he was still young. Before the family moved to Moore, he visited his grandmother in Fort Smith during the summers. His grandmother owned Billie Garner's Supper Club in Fort Smith, where Keith became interested in the musicians who came there to play. He did odd jobs around the supper club and started getting up on the bandstand to play with the band. He got his first guitar at the age of eight. After the family moved to Moore, Keith attended Highland West Junior High and Moore High School, where he played defensive end on the football team.Keith graduated from Moore High School and worked as a derrick hand in the oil fields. He worked his way up to become an operation manager. When Keith was 20, he and his friends Scott Webb, Keith Cory, David "Yogi" Vowell and Danny Smith, with a few others, formed the Easy Money Band, which played at local bars as he continued to work in the oil industry. At times, he would have to leave in the middle of a concert 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 United States Football League's Oklahoma Outlaws; Keith tried out for the Outlaws but did not make the team.) He then returned to focus once again on music. His family and friends were doubtful he would succeed, but, in 1984, Easy Money (various other band members included Mike Barnes, T.A. Brauer, and David Saylors) began playing the honky-tonk circuit in Oklahoma and Texas.
In the early 1990s, Keith went to Nashville, Tennessee, where he hung out and busked on Music Row and at a place called Houndogs. 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. He had promised himself and God to have a recording contract by the time he was 30 years old or give up on music as a career. A flight attendant and fan of his 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 enjoyed what he heard, went to see Keith perform live and then signed him to a recording contract with Mercury.
1993–1995: Toby Keith and Boomtown
Keith's debut single, "Should've Been a Cowboy", went to number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1993, and it reached number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100. This song led off his self-titled debut album. By the end of the decade, "Should've Been a Cowboy" received more than three million spins at radio, thus making it the most-played country song of the 1990s. Certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of one million copies, the album produced three more Top 5 hits on the country charts with "He Ain't Worth Missing" (at #5), "A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action" (originally the B-side of "Should've Been a Cowboy") and "Wish I Didn't Know Now" (both at #2). Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic wrote of the album, "It is given a production that's a bit too big, clean, glossy and cavernous for Keith's good—it fits the outsized sound of early-'90s radio, but not his outsized talent—but beneath that sheen the songs are very strong." He also thought that it showed the signs of the style that Keith would develop on subsequent albums. The album's success led to Keith touring with then-labelmates Shania Twain and John Brannen. Keith and Twain also appeared in Tracy Lawrence's music video for "My Second Home" in 1993.
Keith then signed with Polydor Records Nashville and released his second album, Boomtown, in September 1994. Also certified platinum, this album was led off by the number one single "Who's That Man". After it, "Upstairs Downtown" and "You Ain't Much Fun" both made the Top 10, while "Big Ol' Truck" peaked at number 15. By late-1995, he release.... Discover the Toby Clark popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Toby Clark books.