On This Date: Clint Black Was At The Top Of The Charts With His Debut Album ‘Killin’ Time’

Clint Black country music
Clint Black

One of the most underrated 90’s country stars has to be Clint Black.

Although he was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, his family moved back to his father’s hometown before he turned one and was raised in Katy, Texas.

He taught himself to play harmonica at 12 years old and wrote his first song at age 14, which is about the time his parents started to notice he had a real gift for singing. He joined a band with his brother, taught himself to play guitar, and before long the quartet was performing at backyard barbeques with 70 people in attendance. He later dropped out of high school to pursue music full time.

Always considering himself a traditionalist, he wanted to keep the style of George Jones and Merle Haggard alive and while playing at various lounges as a solo singer and guitarist. Clint held many odd jobs to pay the bills, including fishing guide and bait cutter.

He eventually ran into Hayden Nicholas and two connected immediately, beginning a songwriting partnership that would last many years into the future. He was signed by RCA in late 1987 and released his first album, Killin’ Time, in 1989, which was recorded using his road band and not session musicians that many artists of the time were using.

All songs on the project were penned at least in part by Clint – and it was an immediate success, cementing his role as a member of the legendary “Class of ’89” that’s often credited with ushering in a new sound in country music for the ’90s.

The lead single from his debut project was “Better Man,” the first debut single to go number one in 14 years. He followed that up with 4 more number one singles, marking the first time a country artist had 5 number one singles from one project.

The album hit number one on the Top Country Albums chart in May 20th and remained in the top spot for a dominating 31 weeks and spent a total of 195 weeks on the chart. (Yes, that is nearly 4 years.)

It’s since been certified 3x Platinum by the RIAA, and earned him 4 ACM’s and a CMA in 1989.

Hard to imagine a debut could be more successful that that.

While he certainly had other success through his career, Clint Black will be forever known as the genius behind Killin’ Time. 

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock