Toby Keith Says He Stopped Writing Songs Because Radio Won’t Play Them: “You’re Kind Of Wasting Your Time”

Toby Keith country music
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We all know that Toby Keith was a mainstream country music powerhouse in the ’90s and early 2000s, with smash hits like “How Do You Like Me Now,” “Should’ve Been A Cowboy,” “As Good As I Once Was,” “Beer For My Horses,” “Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue,” and so many more.

I mean c’mon, the guy wracked up 20 number one hits to prove it.

But these days, Toby is just getting back into music after battling stomach cancer for more than a year, playing shows here and there as he continues to get his strength back.

He also recently hosted his 19th annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic, where he spoke on the state of country music today – and his place in it.

Keith told The Oklahoman that he doesn’t write as much music as he used to, because as he put it, radio’s not going to play it anyway so there’s “nowhere to go with it.”

“You can get it … streamed, and you’ve got your fans who’ll play it. But as far as getting airplay, what we do and what I made my hall of fame living doing, they don’t want that. So, you’re kind of wasting your time.

All those years of owning it, and being that guy where you just put it out and they’ll automatically play it, well, none of us are that guy anymore. Even the new people don’t seem to last as long: They come and go pretty quick because it’s flavor-of-the-month stuff.”

And if you thought Keith was gonna change to appease the current day sound of country radio, think again:

“I’ve just never been that guy —and I’m not going to change and write that kind of stuff. … But with all the songs we got, I could play four hours of straight hits.”

I think we can all agree that country music radio is making a bit of a turn for the better with the success of Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen, Lainey Wilson, Cody Johnson, Jon Pardi, and more, but it’s sad to know that Keith’s days of running country radio are probably over for good.

Toby Keith’s First Show Back Since Cancer Diagnosis

Oh Toby Keith is back alright.

The Big Dog Daddy has been battling stomach cancer for more than a year, revealing the diagnosis last June while canceling the rest of his scheduled 2022 shows.

And over the past year, the country star has largely remained out of the public eye.

But you can’t keep a cowboy down for very long.

The singer’s representatives recently told Fox News Digital that Toby is “feeling good” and that they are “anticipating Toby will be on the road again soon.”

And Toby himself told The Oklahoman recently that he’s ready to test the waters to see if he’s up to getting back on stage:

“I’ve got more wind. And I’m thinking about bringing the band in and setting up, playing two or three days somewhere just to see if I can get through two hours.

All I gotta do is see if I can get through two or three nights of work and get a little break in this chemo, and we’ll go back to work.”

Well that’s exactly what he did this past weekend during two surprise pop-up shows at Hollywood Corners, a bar that he owns in his home state of Oklahoma.

What was supposed to just be a rehearsal of sorts for Toby to test the waters ended up turning into full blown, 2 and a half hour full band shows.

Toby powered through all of his hits, including, of course, “Courtesy of the Red White and Blue” ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.

And as he wrapped up the 2001 hit, Toby had a message for the crowd as he raised a middle finger in the air:

“Never apologize for being patriotic. F*ck em.”

Yep, there’s the same ol’ Toby Keith back on stage once again.

Feels like all is right with the world again.

@countrymusicamerica “Dont apologize for being patriotic, fuck em” – TK #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #music #country #countrymusic #usa #independenceday #4thofjuly #america #tobykeith #rap #hiphop #now #dance ♬ Chill Vibes – Tollan Kim

Toby Keith Wrote “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” After Watching A Hunting Buddy Get Rejected

It’s one of the most iconic songs of the ’90s.

“Should’ve Been a Cowboy” was Toby Keith’s debut single, the first from his self-titled debut album. It reached the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart 30 years ago this week, and was the most played song on country radio of the 1990s.

The song has become one of Toby’s signature songs, and it launched his career in a way that few songs ever have.

And all because he watched a guy get rejected at a bar.

Back in the early ’90s, Toby was trying to get his start in country music but had recently been turned down by major labels in Nashville, who already had superstar male artists like Garth Brooks on their roster.

But things changed after a hunting trip, where Toby wrote what would become his biggest hit while sitting on the side of a bathtub.

In an interview with Dan Rather, Toby explains that the group was out to eat after a day of pheasant hunting when he saw a man approach a young girl at the bar and ask her for a dance – and promptly get turned down:

“We went into this western saloon, and this dude was about my age now and he was in hunting clothes. And this young girl standing at the bar, he gets up from his steak and he said ‘I think I’m gonna go dance with her.’

And they’re like, ‘John, she ain’t gonna dance with you. You’re in hunting clothes and you stink, you’ve been in the field all day.’

‘No, watch this.’ Well she turns him down.

A little bit later a young guy comes in and she’s right on the floor, and somebody goes, ‘John, you should’ve been a cowboy.’

And I went, ‘Ding ding ding ding ding.’ I was like, ‘Oh, I got that.'”

With the idea for the song in his head, Toby was eager to put it all together. But he didn’t want to disturb his roommate at the hotel they were in, so he grabbed his guitar and went to the bathroom, where he ended up writing the song while sitting on the edge of the bathtub:

“In 20 minutes I wrote it.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Here’s the full interview with Toby:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock