Kate's Notes

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw (born Samuel Timothy Smith on May 1, 1967, in Delhi, Louisiana) is an internationally known country music star from pure country roots, who has achieved several number one hits on the country singles and album charts over his long illustrious, with total sales in excess of 25 million units. Married to country singer Faith Hill, and son of baseball player Tug McGraw, his trademark hit songs include "Indian Outlaw," "Don't Take the Girl," "Down on the Farm," "I Like It, I Love It," "It's Your Love" (featuring his wife), and "Live Like You Were Dying.”

Early Life

McGraw’s mother, a waitress named Betty Trimble (née D'Agostino) is of Italian and Irish decent, and his father Tug McGraw, a famous relief pitcher for the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies was of Scots-Irish descent.

Trimble raised McGraw in Start, Louisiana. He grew up believing his birth father was Horace Smith, who was actually his step-father, until he discovered his birth certificate in his mother's closet at the age of 11, which listed his father as Frank McGraw, the professional baseball player known as Tug. It was then that his mother told him that his birth father was.

Growing up, McGraw loved to play baseball and other competitive sports. Soon after, he grew a love for music as well. However, he was no slouch in academics, and graduated as salutatorian of his high school class in 1985.

He attended Northeast Louisiana University on a baseball scholarship, where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. During this period, he learned to play guitar and would frequently perform and sing for tips. He dropped out of college in 1989 in order to head to Nashville and pursue a musical career. He was discovered busking for tips in front of a hot dog stand known as HounDogs in Nashville; known for its small stage exclusively for buskers to perform on, many Nashville noteworthies played there at one time or another.

The Beginning: 1990s

He signed with Curb Records in 1990, but it wasn't until 1992 that he had his first minor hit "Welcome to the Club" off his self-titled debut album, which failed to make much of a dent on the charts. He achieved a couple of minor hits including, "Memory Lane" and "Two Steppin Mind," off the same album in 1993.

The second album, Not a Moment Too Soon, went on to become the best selling country album in 1994. The first single, "Indian Outlaw", written by John D. Loudermilk, caused considerable controversy as critics argued that it presented Native Americans in a patronizing way. Some radio stations refused to play it, but among some Native American tribes, the song was popular; it went to the top of the playlist at the clear channel KTNN, the radio voice of the Navajo Nation. The controversy helped spur sales and the song became McGraw's first top ten country single (getting as high as #8); it also made #15 on the pop chart and went gold and silver.

His second single, the ballad "Don't Take the Girl," became his first #1 country hit (it also reached the top 20 on the pop chart and went gold); and in 1995 the album's title track was also a #1 country single. "Down on the Farm" reached number two and "Refried Dreams" reached the top 5. The album sold over 5 million copies, topping the Billboard 200 as well as the country album charts. He won Academy of Country Music awards for Album of the Year and Top New Male Vocalist in 1994.

His next album, All I Want, released in 1995, continued his run of success debuting at number one on the country charts. The album sold over two million copies and reached top 5 on the Billboard 200. "I Like It, I Love It" reached number one on the country charts as the leadoff single, while "She Never Lets It Go to Her Heart" also went to number one in 1996. "Can't Really Be Gone", "All I Want is a Life", and "Maybe We Should Just Sleep On It" were all top 5 hits.

In 1996, Tim McGraw traveled America on the Spontaneous Combustion Tour, which was the most successful country tour of that year. Faith Hill was his supporting act and the title of the tour turned out to be prophetic as the singers married October 6, 1996. The couple went onto have three daughters: Gracie Katherine born May 5, 1997, Maggie Elizabeth born August 12, 1998 and Audrey Caroline born December 6, 2001.

Tim McGraw's happy family life is in contrast with his father who had a reputation as a hell raiser. Tug McGraw once famously said: "Ninety percent I'll spend on good times, women, and Irish Whiskey. The other ten percent I'll probably waste."

Everywhere continued his golden run topping the country charts and reaching number two on the album charts in 1997. The album sold 4 million copies and its first single, "It’s Your Love", a duet with Faith Hill, became the first single in twenty years to spend six weeks on top of Billboard's country singles chart (the previous such song had been Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson's "Luckenbach, Texas" in 1977); reached #7 on the pop chart (and gained platinum status); and became the most played single in the history of the Billboard country charts. Five more singles "Everywhere," "Where the Green Grass Grows," "One of These Days," "For a Little While," and "Just to See You Smile" reached the top of the country charts from the album, with the last of these setting a new record by spending 42 weeks on the Billboard charts. The Country Music Association awarded Everywhere its Album of the Year award for 1997.

A Place in the Sun in 1999 was another huge hit topping the US pop and country album charts, and selling three million albums. It featured another four chart topping singles on the country charts including "Please Remember Me" with Patty Loveless, "Something Like That," "My Best Friend," and "My Next Thirty Years"; "Some Things Never Change" was also a big hit, reaching #7 on the country chart. During the summer of 1999, McGraw toured the US with the Dixie Chicks as the support artist as well as appearing as the headline artist at the George Strait Country Music Festival.

By the end of 1999, McGraw had supplanted Garth Brooks as the most popular country male singer in the nation, while Faith Hill was one of the most popular female country singers along with Shania Twain.

Success Continues: 2000s

In 2000, McGraw released his Greatest Hits album which again topped the charts for nine weeks. On tour he and opening act Kenny Chesney got involved in a scuffle with police officers when Chesney attempted to ride one of their horses; McGraw was later cleared of any charges. In the latter half of 2000, he and Hill went out on the Soul2Soul Tour, playing to sellout crowds in 64 venues including Madison Square Garden. It was one of the top tours of any genre in the US and the leading country tour during 2000.

Set This Circus Down was released in April of 2001 and spawned four number one country hits - "Grown Men Don't Cry," "Angry All the Time," "The Cowboy in Me," and "Unbroken." A duet with Jo Dee Messina entitled "Bring on the Rain" also topped the country charts. "Things Change" made the history as the first country song to chart from a downloaded version following his performance of the song at the CMA Awards show. After the tragedies of September 11, 2001, 2 unreleased songs were leaked to the Internet. The songs were Petra's "More Power To Ya" and Eric Clapton's "Tears In Heaven," both performed at freedom concerts.

In 2002, Tim McGraw bucked country music traditions by recording his album Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors with his tour band The Dancehall Doctors in the Catskill Mountains. Unlike rock music, where it is commonplace for touring bands such as the E Street Band or Crazy Horse to play on albums with the artist they support, country albums are normally recorded with session musicians. McGraw stated on his web site that he felt he owed this to the musicians who had been an integral part of his success and to capture some of the feel of a real band. All of the Dancehall Doctors had been with McGraw since at least 1996.

Tim McGraw and the Dance Hall Doctors was released on November 26, 2002 and reached number 2 on the country charts, with "Real Good Man" reaching number one. "She's My Kind of Rain" reached number 2 in 2003 and "Red Rag Top" reached the top 5. The album also featured a cover version of Elton John's early 1970s classic "Tiny Dancer", as well as appearances by Kim Carnes on "Comfort Me" - a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks - and Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit of The Eagles on "Illegal".

McGraw also performed the song "Wherever the Trail May Lead" for the 2004 Disney film Home on the Range.

McGraw's 2004 album Live Like You Were Dying continued his record of commercial success. The title track was a soaring ode to living life fully and in the moment, while the second single "Back When" was a paean to an easy nostalgia. "Live Like You Were Dying" spent seven nonconsecutive weeks at #1 and went on to become the biggest hit single of the year. It also became one the most awarded songs/records by winning ACM Single and Song of the Year, CMA Single and Song of the Year and a Grammy. Yet another unreleased song entitled Dear Santa was leaked in 2004 about a desperate prayer to Santa Claus to help a woman who's heart was broken by McGraw.

In late 2004, his unlikely duet with rapper Nelly on "Over and Over," a soft ballad of lost love, became a crossover hit. "Over and Over" brought McGraw a success he had never previously experienced on contemporary hit radio, and brought both artists success neither had previously experienced in the hot adult contemporary market. The song also spent a week at the top of the UK single charts, and was McGraw's first visit to the UK hit countdown.

In a 2004 interview, McGraw said he would like to run for public office in the future, possibly for Senate in his home state of Tennessee. In the same interview, he praised former President Bill Clinton, a somewhat unusual stance in the conservative country music industry, which used to be more Liberal with groups such as Alabama: "I love Bill Clinton. I think we should make him king. I'm talking the red robe, the turkey leg - everything."

McGraw also participated in the Live 8: The Long Walk to Justice concert series, performing along with Faith Hill at the Rome, Italy concert on July 2, 2005 as part of the effort to get G8 leaders to address the humanitarian crises in Africa. McGraw's performance of "Live Like You Were Dying" was one of the most re-played performances in Live 8 television recaps.

Throughout the 2005 NFL season McGraw sang an alternate version of "I Like It, I Love It" every week during the season. The alternate lyrics, which would be different each week, would make reference to plays during Sunday's games and the song would be played along video highlights during halftime on Monday Night Football. Ironically, he would become a minority owner of the Arena Football League's Nashville Kats that year when majority owner Bud Adams (owner of the NFL's Tennessee Titans) was awarded the expansion franchise.

In April 2006 McGraw and Hill began their 73-concert 55 city Soul2Soul II Tour 2006, again to a strong commercial acceptance. The tour was declared the top grossing tour in the history of country music grossing nearly $89 Million and selling almost 1.1 million tickets.

In July 2006, he released an underground techno remix of a Mike Jones song called "Trippin on FoFo's."

Tim McGraw received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame during ceremonies October 17, 2006. McGraw's star is located at 6901 Hollywood Boulevard near stars in the sidewalk honoring Julie Andrews, William Shatner and the late Greta Garbo. The event coincides with the release of the soundtrack to Flicka, the feature film starring McGraw. One of his co-stars, Alison Lohman, attended the ceremony that included comments from Billy Bob Thornton, McGraw's co-star in the film, Friday Night Lights.

McGraw released his eleventh album, Let It Go, on March 27, 2007. The album features two duets with wife Faith Hill, including "I Need You," which the performed as they last song of their Soul2Soul II show as well as "Shotgun Rider," another new song they performed on the tour together. The album will also feature the debut single, "Last Dollar (Fly Away)."

Hill and McGraw will return to the road with the follow-up to 2006's highly successful Soul2Soul II Tour 2006 with Soul2Soul 2007.

Both Hill And McGraw have been confirmed to take part in the Live Earth concerts on July 7th 2007


McGraw first started his acting career in a 1995 episode of "The Jeff Foxworthy Show" playing Jeff Foxworthy's rival.

In 2004 McGraw played a sheriff in Rick Schroder's independent release Black Cloud. Then in the same year, McGraw received good notices as the overbearing father of a running back in the major studio Texas high school football drama Friday Night Lights (the Dallas Observer said the role was played with "played with unexpected ferocity by country singer Tim McGraw"). The movie went on to gross over $60 million dollars worldwide. Most recently it was named one of the top 50 high school movies of all time (number 37) by Entertainment Weekly.

McGraw's first lead role is in the current Fox 2006 film Flicka, which was released in theatres October 20, 2006. He plays the father Rob in the remake of the classic book "My Friend Flicka," and costars Alison Lohman and Maria Bello. The movie debuted in the top 10 list and has grossed over 21 Million dollars at the box office. The movie is a family drama and again McGraw has achieved critical acclaim for his acting.

In addition, he serves as executive producer of the soundtrack album which was released by his record label, StyleSonic Records, in association with Curb Records and Fox 2000 films. It features the closing credit song "My Little Girl" which is the first song McGraw has recorded that he co-wrote. The song was nominated by the Broadcast Film Critics for "Best Song" in a film, and the movie was nominated in the category "Best Family Film (Live Action).

McGraw will also be appearing in the new Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner movie The Kingdom produced by Peter Berg due out in April 2007. More recently, he was tapped by Paul Haggis (Crash) for a role in his film In the Valley of Elwah.

Charity Work and Activism

McGraw and his wife took truckloads of relief items down to the Gulf area after Hurricane Katrina. They also performed a charity tour, giving all the proceeds to the Neighbor’s Keeper Foundation, a group the couple formed to help victims the disaster.

Tim played an impromptu charity concert with Kid Rock to raise money for the Red Cross.
He has also hosted a charity poker tournament to benefit the Tug McGraw Foundation and performed on a telethon to raise funds for the victims of the December 26 tsunami.

McGraw supports several charities, including the ASPCA, Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, Angelwear, David Foster Foundation, James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness, Live 8, MusiCares, Neighbor's Keeper Foundation, Red Cross, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and the Tug McGraw Foundation.


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1:47 PM  

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