In 1993, Toby Keith’s debut single, “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” rose to the top of the charts, christening a career that has garnered ample recognition, fame and fortune. This year the singer/songwriter has been honored by Billboard as its Top Country Artist and Songwriter of the Decade. Keith also ranked No. 3 on the publication’s Top 200 Artists of the Decade list.
Keith’s prominence should be no surprise as he annually shows up on the Forbes list of Top Earning Country Stars. For 2009 he was No. 3, behind Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts, with estimated ’09 earnings of $52 million. On the 2008 chart he grabbed the No. 1 position with earnings of $48 million.
Keith’s mantle of recognitions is crowded. The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) bestowed its 2000-2009 Songwriter/Artist of the Decade Award to him for songs such as “How Do You Like Me Now,” “As Good As I Once Was,” “God Love Her,” “Beer For My Horses” and many more. Also during the last decade Toby was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, won the ACM Entertainer of the Year Award for two consecutive years and earned a three-time Country Artist/Songwriter of the Year Award from BMI for his catalog which has generated over 65 million performances.
In addition to writing songs and recording, the artist has successfully toured throughout the U.S. and recently returned from a two-week sold out European schedule that included nine shows in six countries. He regularly journeys to perform for the troops in the Persian Gulf and other locations prompting the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) to honor him with its Distinguished Service Award. Keith also owns a chain of restaurants, his own record label (Show Dog Nashville), has starred in two major motion pictures and recently launched a clothing line.
Last but not least, Toby Keith’s singles during this decade have reportedly spent more than a year at No. 1. This year he achieved his 27th No. 1 career single, the 16th of this decade.