Toby Keith

July 8, 1961

Toby Keith Artistfacts

  • He is known for taking his tours to remote military bases. He has performed for US troops in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait as well as on board the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier. His respect for the troops was instilled by his father who served in the military and by a friend named Curt Motley who became a board member with the USO. In 2009, Toby received the Military Officers Association of America Distinguished Service Award.
  • His USO experience serves as inspiration for many of his songs, including "American Soldier" and "The Taliban Song." He even admitted to naming his 2003 album Shock'n Y'all after a military operation called "Shock and Awe."
  • Toby's first movie role came when he starred in the 2006 drama Broken Bridges as Bo Price, a fading country music star. He also contributed to the soundtrack. His second role was deputy Joe Bill "Rack" Racklin in the 2008 comedy Beer For My Horses, based on his song of the same name. Keith co-wrote the screenplay and co-produced the film.
  • He owns a restaurant chain called I Love This Bar & Grill. The name is inspired by his song "I Love This Bar." His songs are also present in the menu: "She's a Hottie" green chili burger, "Should've Been a Cowboy" burger, "High Maintenance" cheese steak sandwich.
  • Keith attended Villanova University during the 1979-1980 academic year. He planned to be a petroleum engineer, but when crude soared past $100 per barrel he dropped out so he could grab the fast money climbing rigs on the Oklahoma oil fields with his father.
  • Toby Keith first met his future wife Tricia Lucus at an Oklahoma nightclub in 1981. "He was just one of those larger-than-life guys, full of confidence," Lucus recalled to People magazine. The couple dated for three years before marrying on March 24, 1984, when Keith was 22 years old.
  • Toby adopted Shelley, Lucus' daughter, who was born in 1980. They went on to have two children of their own, a daughter, Krystal Keith (who signed a contract with Show Dog-Universal in 2013), and son, Stelen Keith Covel.
  • In 1982, the oil industry in Oklahoma began a rapid decline and Keith soon found himself unemployed, so he turned to music, playing with his Easy Money Band in bars for a paltry $35 a night. "Dozens of people told Tricia, 'You need to go tell your old man to get a real job,'" Keith told Country Weekly. "It took a strong-hearted and loving woman to say, 'He's good enough at music that I've got to let him try. And it'll be a great shot for both of us if he can make it work.'"
  • Merle Haggard was a huge inspiration on the young Toby Keith. "When I was coming up, I was listening to the guys who had been around 20 or 30 years, and I was like, 'I'm gonna be like one of those guys,'" Keith shared during his talk at the 2017 Country Radio Seminar. "[Haggard] was tremendous, maybe the biggest influence on me. I can remember sitting in grade school — young grade school, too, like second or third grade - and my parents playing 'Okie From Muskogee' and listening to those songs."

    "And then when the album played, you would hear 'Mama's Hungry Eyes' you would hear all those songs besides 'Okie from Muskogee,'" he continued. "And so when I first started learning to play the guitar, those were some of the most haunting … they were calling me to sing them."
  • After being inspired by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's mission, Keith opened the OK Kids Corral in Oklahoma City for youngsters battling cancer. The singer, who continues to support the project, considers it his biggest accomplishment outside his family. "It's an old frontier cabin, kind of, with 16 full suites, a chapel, a theater, a storm shelter, an indoor/outdoor playground - it's an amazing facility," Keith explained to The Boot.
  • Toby Keith's first paying gig was a wedding for which he earned $1,000, a huge amount for someone fresh out of high school. Keith said it was "easy money," and the show made such a lasting impression that when he formed his first group with friends Scott Webb, Keith Cory, David "Yogi" Vowell and Danny Smith, he named it the Easy Money Band.

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