Toby Keith Names His Most Important Song
This week, Toby Keith will become a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame — an honor he says will stand alone among his many accolades. When asked to name his most important hit, one came to mind immediately, but it's not the one fans may be thinking of.
Prior to taking the stage at the 2015 Taste of Country Music Festival, Keith told Taste of Country that "Should've Been a Cowboy" begins a long list of hits one could point to in giving a reason why he was chosen for this honor.
“That song had to go stand on its own,” Keith says, meaning he wasn't a star when he released it as his debut single in 1993. “(It) Busted through and set the foundation.”
The numbers as a songwriter amassed to be so big, almost a 100 million spins, that they were like, ‘Hell, we gotta put that guy in, we’d look stupid.’
Plenty of multi-week chart-toppers followed, including "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" and "Beer for My Horses." Keith mentions both songs when talking about why he was chosen now, at this point in his career, for the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
“The numbers as a songwriter amassed to be so big, almost a 100 million spins, that they were like, ‘Hell, we gotta put that guy in, we’d look stupid,’” he says.
He'll be inducted alongside Bobby Braddock, Cyndi Lauper and more on Thursday (June 18) in New York City. Once in, Keith plans to get to work championing for other songwriters in country music that have been shut out so far. Roger Miller and Merle Haggard are two he named.
“I gotta get my butt in there first,” Keith says, smiling.
As for the importance he places on this honor? The multi-time Entertainer of the Year says this is the only trophy he'll display on his desk. “It’s probably the only honor that I ever wanted to accomplish or see."
Keith closed the three-day ToC Festival in Hunter, N.Y. He's expected to release his next album 35 MPH Town later this year.
Highlights From Toby Keith's ToC Fest Set