CMT to Honor Toby Keith with a Retrospective of His Best CMT Music Awards Moments: How to Watch

Toby Keith left a massive hole in the country music world when he passed away earlier this year. The Oklahoma native came out swinging with his debut single “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” in 1993. It was one of Keith’s many singles to reach the top of the country chart. Additionally, it began his reign over the airwaves. He continued to create and perform top-notch country music until his death. As a result, CMT is pulling out all of the stops to honor his legacy.

Videos by American Songwriter

The network’s tribute to Keith started Sunday (April 7) during the 2024 CMT Music Awards. Brooks & Dunn, Lainey Wilson, and more paid tribute to the late singer/songwriter. However, the good folks at Country Music Television have decided that one tribute wasn’t enough. Earlier today, they announced a retrospective special to honor Keith’s contribution to the genre.

[RELATED: Watch Lainey Wilson Pay Tribute to Toby Keith With a Stunning “How Do You Like Me Now” Cover at the 2024 CMT Music Awards]

“Songwriting meant the world to Toby Keith,” the network stated in the post announcing the special. “We’re reminiscing on this Hall of Famer’s greatest CMT Awards moments—tomorrow, April 11 at 10/9c on CMT,” the post concluded.

In the video attached to the post, Toby Keith discussed how important songwriting was to him.

Toby Keith on Songwriting

“Songwriting, they can’t take that back,” Keith said in the video. “It’s on the radio, it’s being performed, it’s in the air. They can’t take your songs back,” he added.  

Over the course of his career, Keith received several accolades for his songwriting. However, that was never on his mind. In the video, he explains that he and his co-writers were just working. “Being part of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the worldwide Songwriters Hall of Fame, being maybe one of the youngest cats ever to be a BMI Icon… When we were in the middle of it and we were doing all that stuff, and building that catalog, we didn’t know what we were accomplishing,” he said. “We just had our heads down, was working,” he added.

Keith Wrote Hits

Toby Keith knew a thing or two about writing hit songs because he wrote several. He penned his debut single and first No. 1. A year later his self-penned “Who’s That Man” topped the chart. He also co-wrote his 1996 hit “Me Too” as well as his 1999 No. 1 “How Do You Like Me Now.” In short, if a song in Keith’s catalog went to No. 1 in the ‘90s, he at least co-wrote it. In fact, his first outside song to hit the top of the country chart was the Bobby Braddock-penned “I Wanna Talk About Me” in 2001.

All told Keith had 20 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. He wrote or co-wrote sixteen of those songs. “I Wanna Talk About Me” (Bobby Braddock), “My List” (Tim James, Rand Bishop), “Love Me If You Can” (Chris Wallin, Craig Wiseman), and “American Ride” (Joe West, Dave Pahanish) were the only outside cuts in his long list of chart-toppers.

Featured Image by Rick Diamond/WireImage

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  1. Thanks for mentioning “My List” (the most-played country single of 2002, which I co-wrote with Tim James) among the few chart toppers Toby didn’t co-write. I do think you omitted one, however. “Red Solo Cup” was written by the Warren Brothers with Brett and Jim Beavers.

    I will forever be grateful to Toby Keith for choosing to cut my song. As this article points out, he was, first and foremost, a songwriter, and a dedicated one. So, to have him identify one of my compositions as worthy was, and still is, incredibly meaningful. There are so many close calls and near misses in the music biz. The confluence of factors, the serendipity that goes into anything actually happening is mind numbing. The day I found out I had the #1 song, I knew no one could ever take that away. Just like Toby said. RIP, Toby Keith.

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