Country Music Memories: ‘American Soldier’ Hits No. 1

Feb. 21, 2004, was a big day for Toby Keith: It was on that date, 17 years ago today, that his single “American Soldier,” from his multi-platinum Shock’n Y’all album, soared to the top of the charts.

“American Solider,” which was the second single from Shock’n Y’all, was Keith’s 13th No. 1 tune. But while reaching the peak position on the charts was nothing new for the Oklahoma native, he admits that this particular song was special to him.


“It’s written for all the times that I get to meet the troops on these USO tours,” Keith explains. “Since “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” the POWs and the families and stuff that have come and brought me back my old CD covers and stuff that they had and shown how much support they had, and this is my support for the American fighting men and women.”

“American Soldier” stayed on top of the charts for four weeks, but Keith’s support for the troops continues far beyond this song. The country music hitmaker supports the military any way he can, and has made multiple trips to visit the troops overseas.

“If they come to my show, I get them backstage,” Keith says. “If they come down front during “American Soldier,” I pull them up on stage. I make sure to acknowledge them and honor them as much as I can.”

This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski.

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