Country music icon, Toby Keith, passed away following his battle with cancer. Keith was both a cultural and musical icon whose footprint will be visible for decades to come. Here are some of his most iconic moments:
“Courtesy of the Red White and Blue (Angry American)”
When Toby Keith first sang the phrase “We’ll put a boot in your ass it’s the American way” I swear there was a rip in the time space continuum. There are iconic moments in history and there are legendary moments in history. The song and that particular phrase drew battle lines between patriots and simps after 9/11 and there was no coming back from it. Over the 20 years since its release, it’s gone from anthem to nostalgia but it’s never left the zeitgeist. Even if you’re anti-foreign war, there is something very satisfying about the pulp of that hit song. Here’s the full music video.
The song and subsequent film, Beer for My Horses
The song “Beer for my Horses” is wild enough as it is (in a good way). The song is about local men keeping law and order. Some have accused the song of being about lynching but the intention is for the song to be about stopping true bad guys cowboy style not the brutal and abhorrent practice of lynching. Featuring Willie Nelson, the song proclaims “whiskey for my men, beer for my horses.” It’s extremely catchy. I think its been stuck in my head since 2002.
Enter the movie Beer for my Horses. The film was released in 2008 and is a comedy about buddy cops (Keith being one) who defy orders to go after meth dealers who kidnapped Keith’s girlfriend (in revenge for his busting them for meth).The film stars Ted Nugent, Willie Nelson and veteran actor Tom Skerrit (Viper in Top Gun) but then weirdly also Claire Forlani who is best known for roles like hers in Meet Joe Black. In order to describe for you how zany this film gets I’d have to include a lot of spoilers but let’s just say: it’s worth a watch.
Giving a 15-year-old from Pennsylvania named Taylor Swift her big break
Toby Keith co-founded Big Machine Records who was the first record label to give Taylor Swift a deal. He was hands-on with her first album (self-titled) which was released in 2006. Swift described herself as starstruck working with him in her early years. Swift left the label when Big Machine Records split from Keith’s label, Show Dog Nashville but Keith (until his passing) and Swift’s father are still minority owners of Big Machine Records.
That means if not for Toby Keith, football would never have been made perfect (ITS A JOKE!). So when you think Taylor Swift, I hope you think not of Tim McGraw but of Toby Keith himself.
That time he hilariously feuded with the band formerly known as ‘The Dixie Chicks’
You may recall that time the Dixie Chicks were on a world tour and said they were ashamed to be from the same state as George W. Bush right after 9/11 and the war in Iraq had begun. It’s always really idiotic for celebrities to get too political if they enjoy wealth and fame. But it’s especially idiotic to attack 1) Texas and 2) A President who at the time of the comments was enjoying like a 90% approval rating (hyperbole). No matter how much in hindsight we all agree that the war in Iraq was a huge mistake and probably built on a lie, at that moment in time everyone (really – everyone) was on board.
So of course, country music fans who were currently salivating over songs like “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” did NOT take kindly to the public indictment of President Bush (even if now we all agree that yes he is a monster). Especially since the comments implied that the United States was on the “bad side” of the conflict which even in hindsight seems reductive at best.
Toby Keith responded to the controversy by creating a poster of Saddam Hussein hugging Natalie Maines. To this day liberals really cry about this hilarious poster despite the fact that “The Dixie Chicks” now copy Keith’s antics by putting up graphics of people they don’t like. Keith roasted them so hard that they now use his roasting tactics. LEGEND!
When he played Trump’s inauguration despite the haters and losers
Toby Keith played President Trump’s inaugural ceremony despite immense pressure from leftist haters to drop out. Keith said “I don’t apologize for performing for our country or military” and put on a great show playing his most patriotic songs for all those attending the big event.
Keith played shows for George W. Bush and Barack Obama during their presidencies and always made the priority the music and America not the politician sitting in the chair (unlike the band formerly known as The Dixie Chicks).
His incredible mullet when he released, I Shoulda Been a Cowboy
One of his very first hits, I Shoulda Been a Cowboy, has stood the test of time. Because at the end of the day: shouldn’t we all have been?
But the real star of that song is the INCREDIBLE mullet he was rocking in the music video. There is perhaps nothing Keith has contributed more than that level of hair.
Rest in cowboy peace, Toby Keith!