It’s been five months since Toby Keith’s shocking death (2/5/24) from cancer. Since then, the 2023 CMA Awards, the 2024 ACM Awards, and the 2024 CMT Awards have all paid tribute to the legendary artist.

He will also be the subject of an upcoming (7/29) Nashville concert tribute, where artists like Carrie Underwood, Jelly Roll, Lainey Wilson, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, and more will honor Toby through song.

When he passed, the Country Music Hall of Fame, which will induct him later this year, said, “Toby Keith was big, brash, and never bowed down or slowed down for anyone. He wrote his breakthrough songs and later formed his own record label when he felt underserved by Nashville. For three decades, he reflected the defiant strength of the country music audience. His memory will continue to stand tall.”

Keith’s good friend Blake Shelton presented his fellow Oklahoman with the “Country Icon Award” at the September inaugural People’s Choice Country Awards (2023).

Early in his career, almost 20 years ago (2004), Blake toured and opened shows for Toby Keith nationwide. At the time, he told me, “Toby is one of those guys that is so famous and so big, and he is one of those artists that’s just worldwide. You don’t have to be a country music fan to be a Toby Keith fan. It’s just way bigger than that. I step on stage with over 20 thousand people per night, and 15,000 of them may or may not have ever heard of me. Touring with Toby has probably been the biggest break I’ve had since I started doing this.”

Many country stars released statements about Toby when he passed, Including Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, and more.

Carrie Underwood told us of her fellow Oklahoman when he passed, “There are so many things that can be said about Mr. Toby Keith. I mean, obviously, he has had such a monumental career. He has some of the biggest songs that ever were or probably ever will be in country music, and obviously, he has built up that legacy for himself that will live on.”

The country superstar continued, “But I think one of the best things about Toby is his love for Oklahoma. He’s a proud Okie, and I feel like that’s something that always connected us. We’d talk about it. He’s one of the ones who never left. No matter how big and famous he got, he was gonna stay in Oklahoma, and he was always the first one there when disaster would strike – a tornado or whatever it was. He was the first one trying to rally the troops or raise money or help out in any way he could.”

Underwood concluded, “I feel like that’s one of the things that I respect the most about him; he never forgot where he came from and has been such a stellar example to the rest of us to do the same. He will be missed, but I know full well where he is right now. He’s with Jesus, and I, for one, look forward to hearing him sing again someday.”

As we all take time to honor Toby Keith on what would have been his 63rd birthday (7/8), we look at five songs that will make the country superstar live forever.

RELATED: Carrie Underwood, Jelly Roll and More React To Toby Keith’s Death

  • "Should've Been a Cowboy" (1993)

    This is his debut single and the song people will always associate with Toby. Many artists quoted the song and its lyrics in their tribute to him after his death (2/6). Keith wrote the song himself, and it has always been his anthem. The song has received more than three million spins on country radio, making it the most-played country song of the 1990s. Over the years, the song has been a staple following sporting events at Oklahoma State University (home of the Cowboys), often played over the venue’s PA system several times in succession as fans emptied the stadium or arena.

  • "How Do You Like Me Now?!" (1999)

    This song brought Keith to superstardom. Toby told me the inspiration for the song in 2000. “Initially, I said, ‘Here’s my title: ‘You Never Loved Me Before, So How Do You Like Me Now?’ It’s one of my catchphrases. A lot of people become successful after they’ve been told they won’t ever be so that people can relate to this. It can be about an old flame or a boss or a teacher Whatever it means to each individual. It was a fun song to write.”

  • "I Wanna Talk About Me" (2001)

    This is another fun song and a big hit for Keith. The song was originally pitched to Blake Shelton, whose label turned it down. After recording the song, Keith said he knew he would get banged around for the song a bit. He noted, “They’re going to call it a rap, [although] there ain’t nobody doing rap who would call it a rap.”

    The music video for the song shows Toby in many different situations, including a man shopping with his girlfriend or wife, a police officer, a motorcycle rider, and a surgeon.

  • "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)" (2002)

    The song he wrote after the 9/11 attacks on America and was also inspired by Keith’s father’s death in March 2001. In a November 2003 interview with CBS, Keith said of writing the song: “I was so angry when we were attacked here on American soil that it leaked out of me.”

    The music video for the song features Toby performing the song, playing a red, white, and blue guitar, and showing images of his own father fighting in a war.

  • "Red Solo Cup" (2011)

    Keith sure is good at fun party songs, and he proved it once again with this song, which was the only song on the album Clancy’s Tavern that he did not write. The song was written by the Warren Brothers in Nashville.

    The music video includes cameos from Jeff Dunham (and his character Bubba J), Carrot Top, Ted Nugent, Sammy Hagar, Craig Ferguson, Geoff Peterson, Roger Clemens, Eric Church, Joe Nichols, Lance Burton, and Larry Bird, among others.

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