Toby Keith was an American country music singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, and entrepreneur. He released 19 studio albums and had 20 number one hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.
He received the National Medal of Arts from President Donald Trump in 2021, and passed away on February 5, 2024, at 62 years old.
Toby Keith Early Life and Education
Toby Keith was born on July 8, 1961, in Clinton, Oklahoma, to Carolyn Joan and Hubert K. Covel Jr. He had a sister, Tonnie, and a brother, Tracy. He grew up in the towns of Moore, Oklahoma, and Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Toby was interested in music from a young age, and learned to play guitar at eight years old. He also played football in high school, and was a defensive end for the Moore High School team. He graduated from Moore High School in 1979, but did not pursue higher education.
Instead, he followed his father’s footsteps and worked as a derrick hand in the oil fields of Oklahoma. He rose to become an operations manager, and earned a decent living for his family.
Toby Keith Career
Toby Keith was one of the most successful and influential country music artists of his generation. He rose to fame in the 1990s with his debut single “Should’ve Been a Cowboy”, which topped the country charts and became his signature song.
He went on to release 19 studio albums, five compilation albums, and two Christmas albums, selling over 40 million records worldwide. He also had 20 number one hits and 22 additional top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, making him one of the most prolific and consistent hitmakers in the genre.
Keith was known for his patriotic and macho image, as well as his outspoken views on politics and social issues. Some of his most controversial songs include “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)”, which expressed his support for the U.S. military after the 9/11 attacks, “Beer for My Horses”, which advocated for vigilante justice, and “Red Solo Cup”, which celebrated drinking culture. He also feuded with several other artists, such as the Dixie Chicks, who criticized him for his pro-war stance, and rapper Eminem, who parodied him in his song “Without Me”.
Keith was not only a singer and songwriter, but also a record producer, actor, and business owner. He founded his own label, Show Dog Nashville, in 2005, after leaving DreamWorks Records. He produced albums for himself and other artists, such as Trace Adkins, Joe Nichols, and Randy Houser.
He also starred in two movies, Broken Bridges and Beer for My Horses, both based on his songs. He owned several restaurants and bars, including the I Love This Bar & Grill chain, named after his hit song. He also launched his own line of mezcal, called Wild Shot.
Toby Keith Awards
Keith received many awards and honors for his musical achievements and contributions. He won four American Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, and two Country Music Association Awards. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015, and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018. He was also awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Donald Trump in 2021, the highest honor given to artists by the U.S. government. He performed at several presidential inaugurations, including those of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.
Toby Keith Wife and Children
Toby Keith was married to Tricia Lucus for almost 40 years, until his death on February 5, 2024. They had three children together: Shelley, Krystal, and Stelen.
Shelley was Tricia’s daughter from a previous relationship, whom Toby adopted as his own. Krystal followed her father’s footsteps and became a country music singer. Stelen was the youngest of the family and kept a low profile. Toby was also a grandfather to four grandchildren from his daughters.
Toby Keith Death
Toby Keith died on February 5, 2024, at the age of 62, after battling stomach cancer. He was survived by his wife of 40 years, Tricia, and his three children, Krystal, Shelley, and Stelen.
Toby Keith Net Worth
Toby Keith’s net worth was estimated at $365 million at the time of his death. He was one of the richest country singers ever, behind only Dolly Parton and Shania Twain. He earned his fortune from his music career, as well as his business ventures