Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Keith, Toby

KEITH, TOBY (1961– ).

The 2003 and 2004 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Entertainer of the Year, Toby Keith, was born Toby Keith Covel at Clinton, Oklahoma, on July 8, 1961. When Keith was young, his parents, H. K. and Joan Covel, moved to Moore. After graduating from high school in 1979, Keith worked in the oil fields. As the oil market dissolved, he began playing semiprofessional football for the Oklahoma City Drillers but by the mid-1980s focused on music. His Easy Money Band traveled a bar circuit throughout the region, playing small venues until a 1992 debut album produced the number-one country song, "Should've Been a Cowboy."

Influenced by Merle Haggard, Keith wrote many songs that reflect his upbringing and perception of Oklahoma culture. Unlike many successful Oklahoma musicians, he has made the Sooner State his headquarters, living near the town where he was raised. Under Mercury Records he had a modestly successful 1990s career, but it skyrocketed after he changed to the Dreamworks Records label. By 2004 he had sixteen number one Billboard Country hits, with eight from the Dreamworks period. He has earned numerous honors from the ACM, Country Music Awards, American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, People's Choice Awards, and the Nashville Songwriters Association International Awards.

Larry O'Dell

See also: COUNTRY MUSIC, MERLE RONALD HAGGARD, HENRY WILLIAM THOMPSON

Bibliography

Richard Carlin, Country Music: A Biographical Dictionary (New York: Routledge, 2003).

Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 25 March 1993.

Kathryn Jenson White, "Oklahoman of the Year, 2003," Oklahoma Today 54 (January/February 2004).

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photo Archives.


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Larry O'Dell, "Keith, Toby," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed October 18, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia