Rewinding the Country Charts: In 2003, We Loved Toby Keith's 'Bar'

Toby Keith during the 2003 CMT Flameworthy Awards Show at The Gaylord Center in Nashville, Tenn.

The star's five-week No. 1 also sparked a chain of restaurants.

On Nov. 15, 2003, Toby Keith's "I Love This Bar" lifted 2-1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, spending its first of five weeks atop the list.

The track, co-written by Keith and Scotty Emerick, introduced Keith's eighth studio album, Shock'n Y'all, which spent 13 weeks at No. 1 on Top Country Albums. "Bar" became the first of three Hot Country Songs No. 1s from the set; "American Soldier" and "Whiskey Girl" followed in in 2004. (Keith, an ardent supporter of U.S. troops, having performed on multiple USO tours, pulled the Shock' n Y'all title from the military term "shock and awe," from when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003.)

"Bar" was more than a hit single: it inspired Keith to launch the Southern-themed I Love This Bar & Grill, opening the first two in his home state of Oklahoma in 2005. Initial success led to 20 locations; however, financial woes forced the closing of 17 of the establishments.

Since his 1993 chart arrival, Keith has banked 20 Hot Country Songs No. 1s, starting with his debut hit "Should've Been a Cowboy." He's tallied 10 Top Country Albums leaders. His most recent LP, 35 mph Town, hit No. 2 on Top Country Albums in October 2015.

Keith has sold 30.5 million albums in the U.S. in his career, according to Nielsen Music. That places him sixth among country artists since Nielsen began tracking sales in 1991, and 25th among all acts.


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