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Toby Keith Covel (born July 8, 1961), best known as Toby Keith, is an American country music singer-songwriter, record producer and actor. Keith 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 exiting in 1998. These albums all earned gold or higher certification, and produced several chart singles, including his debut "Should've Been a Cowboy", which topped the country charts and was the most played country song of the 1990's. The song has received 3 million spins since then, according to Broadcast Music Incorporated.

Signed to Nashville DreamWorks in 1998, Keith released his breakthrough single "How Do You Like Me Now?!" that year. 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 multi-platinum. A second Greatest Hits package followed in 2004, and after that, he released Honkytonk University.

When Dreamworks closed in 2005, Keith founded his own label, Show Dog Nashville. He has released four studio albums on this label: 2005's White Trash with Money, 2007's Big Dog Daddy, 2008's That Don't Make Me a Bad Guy and 2009's American Ride as well as the compilation 35 Biggest Hits. He has also signed several other acts to the label, including Trailer Choir, Carter's Chord, Flynnville Train, Trace Adkins, Mac McAnally and Mica Roberts. Keith also made his acting debut in 2005, starring in the film Broken Bridges; he also co-starred with comedian Rodney Carrington in the 2008 film Beer for My Horses.

Keith has released thirteen studio albums, two Christmas albums, and multiple compilation albums. He has also charted more than forty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including nineteen Number One hits and sixteen additional Top Ten 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.

Toby Keith was born in Clinton, Oklahoma, the son of Carolyn Joan (born Ross) and Hubert K. Covel Jr. He has a sister, Tonni, and a brother, Tracy. He lived in Fort Smith, Arkansas, for a few years when Toby was in grade school, but moved to Moore, Oklahoma (a suburb of Oklahoma City) when Keith was still young. Before the family moved to Moore, Toby 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. Toby did odd jobs around the supper club and started getting up on the bandstand to play a little with the band. He got his first guitar at the age of eight. After the family moved to Moore, Oklahoma, 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, 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 where he and his friends Scott Webb and Danny Smith and few other members 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 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, 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 to have a recording contract by the time he was 30 years old or give up on music as a career, and had already passed that age without any prospects for a contract.

Fortunately for Keith, 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. 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. Other hit singles included "A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action" and "Wish I Didn't Know Now".

Keith was moved to Polydor Records, a new label and released his next, Boomtown (1994), then was moved to A & M Records Nashville, as those two labels merged and released Blue Moon (1996). The albums went gold and platinum respectively. In 1996, Keith was also featured on the Beach Boys' now out-of-print 1996 album Stars and Stripes Vol. 1 performing a cover of their 1963 hit Be True to Your School with the Beach Boys themselves providing the harmonies and backing vocals.

A & M decided to fold their country division and Keith moved back to Mercury Records (now called Mercury Nashville), and released his fourth album, Dream Walkin' (1997). The album featured a duet with Sting, "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying", which had previously been a hit for Sting himself.

Toby KeithThe first single off How Do You Like Me Now?! failed to make the Top 40 on the country charts. However, the follow-up single, which was the album's title track, went on to spend five weeks at number one, helping boost the album's sales to double platinum.

In 2002, he released the Unleashed album which included hit singles, Who's Your Daddy?, Beer for My Horses, and Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue .

On November 9, 2004, Keith released a special duet with his daughter and aspiring singer, Krystal (age 19 at the time). The song, a remake of James Taylor and Carly Simon's "Mockingbird" was performed on the 2004 CMA's by the duo. The song reached top 25 on the charts.

Keith was the subject of the January, 2005 issue of Playboy Magazine's Playboy Interview. That year, Keith toured with rock guitarist Ted Nugent, whom Keith met in Iraq while they were both performing in USO-sponsored shows for the coalition troops.

On August 31, 2005, Keith parted ways with Universal Music Group- which had since bought DreamWorks- and launched his own record label called Show Dog Nashville. Its first release was Keith's album White Trash With Money, followed by the soundtrack to Broken Bridges. Big Dog Daddy, the album that birthed his single High Maintenance Woman, was released on June 12th, 2007. The album debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 charts, his third album to reach this feat, after "Unleashed" and "Shock'n Y'all"

He recorded a duet with Jimmy Buffett, "Piece of Work" which was on Buffett's License to Chill album.

In 2008, Toby Keith completed his Biggest and Baddest Tour. On May 6, 2008, Toby Keith released his 35 Biggest Hits 2CD set. The set was certified Platinum in August of 2008.

In July 2008, Toby Keith released his new single, "She Never Cried in Front of Me". A new album, That Don't Make Me a Bad Guy, followed on October 28, 2008.

He is currently touring the U.S. with fellow country star Trace Adkins known as America's Toughest Tour. The concert series was kicked off on June 18, 2009 at PNC Bank Performing Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ. Keith did a free show earlier in the day at Asbury Park's famous Stone Pony.

Keith's thirteenth studio album, American Ride, was released on October 6, 2009.

Currently Keith is on yet another USO tour and for the first time in his 8 USO tours he is going to play for US troops in South Korea.

Television appearances

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 name. He also starred in Ford commercials, singing original songs such as "Ford Truck Man" and "Field Trip (Look Again)" while driving Ford trucks.

Keith made an appearance at the very first Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (then NWA-TNA) weekly pay-per-view on June 19, 2002, where his playing of Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue was interrupted by Jeff Jarrett. He would later enter the Gauntlet for the Gold main event, suplexing Jarrett and eliminating him from the match. A short video of the suplex is seen in the clip package when he goes onstage. He would appear the next week, on June 26, and help Scott Hall defeat Jarrett in singles action.

Toby Keith received the "Colbert Bump" when he appeared on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report. Mr. Keith holds the distinction of being the only musical artist to have received a five star rating from Stephen Colbert on I-Tunes. Keith furthered this connection when he appeared in Colbert's 2008 Christmas Special as a hunter. Friday the 20th of November, he also appeared on a Norwegian TV show called "Skavlan". Acting

In the Autumn of 2005, he filmed Broken Bridges, written by Cherie Bennett and Jeff Gottesfeld, and directed by Steven Goldmann. This feature film from Paramount/CMT Films was released on September 8, 2006. A contemporary story set in small-town Tennessee, Keith plays Bo Price, a country musician whose career has seen better times. The movie also stars Kelly Preston, Burt Reynolds, and Tess Harper.

Keith wrote and starred in the 2008 movie "Beer for My Horses", which is based on the 2003 hit song of the same name recorded by Keith and Willie Nelson.

Other business ventures

In 2005, Keith opened Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, as well as Tulsa, OK, and now has restaurants in Kansas City, Las Vegas, Nevada, and the latest in Mesa, Arizona. Toby Keith does not actually own the new restaurants; the new restaurant is the first in a franchise under Scottsdale-based Capri Restaurant Group Enterprises LLC, which purchased the master license agreement to build more Toby Keith restaurants nationwide. Capri Restaurant Group is owned by Frank Capri who opened the restaurant in Mesa, AZ in the shopping center known as Mesa Riverview and is planning on opening multiple locations across the country.

It was announced in 2009, Capri Restaurant Group will open another I Love this Bar & Grill location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's South Side Works shopping and entertainment district.

In Feb, 2010 a new Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill was opened in the Winstar World Casino, exit 1 on Interstate 35 in Oklahoma. Also, In early 2010, a new Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill was opened in Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills, Michigan. News Story at The Ardmoreite Newspaper:

Keith also established a line of clothing, "TK Steelman", in early 2009.

Toby Keith also supports Ally's House a non-profit organization in Oklahoma that helps kids with cancer. Ally's house helps with

Medical expences

Pharmacy assistances




Special needs

Ally's house supports Toby Keith for his tireless support not only to kids with cancer but Soldiers, Military families,and other worthwhile causes and organizations. " This is a special charity to me. I saw firsthand how a child's cancer diagnonis can devistate a family. Please join me in supporting these kids through Ally's House". -Toby Keith "We're gonna make it better for the kids".

Political beliefs

Since 2002, Keith has made numerous trips to the Middle East for years to bring entertainment and encouragement to the men and women serving on or near the front lines. “My father was a soldier. He taught his kids to respect veterans,” said Keith. “It’s that respect and the thank-you that we have a military that’s in place and ready to defend our nation; our freedom.”

In 2004, Keith called himself "a Conservative Democrat who is sometimes embarrassed for his party." He endorsed the re-election of President George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election and performed at a Dallas, Texas, rally on the night before the election. Keith also endorsed Democrat Dan Boren in his successful run in Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district and is good friends with Democratic New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. In a January 2007 interview with Newsday, Keith was asked whether he supported the Iraq War. He responded with "Never did", and said he favors setting a time limit on the campaign. He also said, "I don't apologize for being patriotic... If there is something socially incorrect about being patriotic and supporting your troops, then they can kiss my ass on that, because I'm not going to budge on that at all. And that has nothing to do with politics. Politics is what's killing America."

Keith performs for the troops at the O'Callahan's Cantina at Camp LeMonier, Djibouti, on May 31, 2006.In April 2008, Keith said that Barack Obama "looks like a great speaker and a great leader. And I think you can learn on your feet in there, so I don't hold people responsible for not having a whole bunch of political background in the House and Senate." At the same time he remarked, "I think [John] McCain is a great option too." In August 2008, he called Obama "the best Democratic candidate we've had since Bill Clinton."

In October 2008, Keith told CMT that he had left the Democratic Party and has re-registered as in independent. "My party that I've been affiliated with all these years doesn't stand for anything that I stand for anymore," he says. "They've lost any sensibility that they had, and they've allowed all the kooks in. So I'm going independent." He also told CMT that he would likely vote for the Republican ticket, partially because of his admiration for Palin.

In March 2009, Keith received the Johnny "Mike" Spann Memorial Semper Fidelis Award during a New York ceremony held by the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. The trophy is named for the former Marine Corps captain who was the first U.S. casualty in the war in Afghanistan. "Spending time with our soldiers around the world is something I've always regarded as a privilege and honor," he said. "I'm certainly happy to accept this award, but I won't forget for a second who's really doing the heavy lifting to keep this country safe. And that's why I'll keep going back and spending time with those good folks every chance I get."

In April 2009, he voiced support for Obama on Afghanistan and other decisions: "He hired one of my best friends who I think should run for president someday...Gen. James Jones as a national security adviser. He's sending troops into Afghanistan, help is on the way there. And I'm seeing some really good middle range stuff. I'm giving our commander in chief a chance before I start grabbing. So far, I'm cool with it."

Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue

On March 24, 2001, Keith’s father, H.K. Covel, was killed in a car accident. That event and the September 11 attacks in 2001 prompted Keith to write the song "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue", a song about his father’s patriotism and faith in the United States. At first, Keith refused to record the song and sang it only 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 as an American citizen" to record the song. As the lead single from the album Unleashed (2002), "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue" peaked at number one over the Fourth of July weekend.

Keith visits with fans during brief breaks in filming the music video American Soldier in hangar 1600 at Edwards Air Force Base on November 17, 2003.ABC invited Keith to sing "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue" on a 2002 Fourth of July concert it was producing, then rescinded the invitation after host Peter Jennings heard the song and vetoed it. Jennings said the song “probably wouldn’t set the right tone.” "I find it interesting that he's not from the U.S.," Keith said of Jennings, who is Canadian. "I bet Dan Rather'd let me do it on his special."

Feud with the Dixie Chicks

Keith had a public feud with the Dixie Chicks over the song "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue", in 2003 as well as over comments they made about President George W. Bush on stage during a concert in London. The lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, publicly stated that Keith's song was "ignorant, and it makes country music sound ignorant."Keith responded by belittling Maines' songwriting skills, and by displaying a backdrop at his concerts showing a doctored photo of Maines with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. On May 21, 2003, Maines wore a T-shirt with the letters "FUTK" on the front at the Academy of Country Music Awards. While a spokesperson for the Dixie Chicks said that the acronym stood for "Friends United in Truth and Kindness," many, including host Vince Gill, took it to be a shot at Keith ("Fuck You Toby Keith"). In an October 2004 appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, Maines finally confessed that it was indeed a shot at Toby Keith, and that she "thought that nobody would get it."

In August 2003, Keith's representation publicly declared he was done feuding with Maines "because he's realized there are far more important things to concentrate on". However, he continues to refuse to say Maines' name, and claims that the doctored photo was intended to express his opinion that Maines' criticism was an attempt to squelch Keith's free speech.

In an announcement in April 2008, a commercial spot to promote Al Gore's "We Campaign" involving both the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith was proposed. However, the idea was eventually abandoned due to scheduling conflicts

Personal life

On March 24, 1984, Keith married his wife Tricia Zinter. He is the father of three children; two daughters Shelley (born 1980) and Krystal (born 1985), one son, Stelen (born 1997) and has one granddaughter (born 2008). An avid University of Oklahoma sports fan, Keith is often seen at Oklahoma Sooners games and practices. He is also a fan of professional wrestling, being seen in the front row of numerous WWE shows that take place in Oklahoma, as well as performing Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue live at the first ever TNA Wrestling show on June 19, 2002.

On March 24, 2001, Keith's father was killed in a car accident on Interstate 35. On 25 December 2007 the Covel family was awarded $2.8 million for the wrongful death of H.K. Covel. Elias and Pedro Rodriguez, operators of Rodriguez Transportes of Tulsa, and the Republic Western Insurance Co. were found liable as they failed to properly equip the charter bus with properly working air brakes.

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