Toby Keith scored a chart-topping hit with his single “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)” when he released it as the lead single from his album Unleashed in 2002. The song reached the top of the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming his biggest solo hit on that chart.
The September 11, 2001 attacks prompted Keith to write the song. He said he wrote the song based on what he believed his father’s thoughts on the terrorist attacks would have been. Keith’s father was not only a patriot but also a veteran.
“It wasn’t written for everybody. And when you write something from your heart – I had a dad that was a veteran, taught me how precious our freedom is – I was so angry when we were attacked here on American soil that it leaked out of me,” Keith said. “You know, some people wept when they heard it. Some people got goosebumps. Some people were emotionally moved. Some cheered turned their fists in the air.”
Keith has written the lyrics “on the back of a Fantasy Football sheet that was laying there,” and it only took him about twenty minutes to finish writing the song. Initially, Keith called the song “The Angry American.”
“When I turned it in, they said, ‘Well, it really doesn’t say ‘angry American’ in there. Why don’t you call it Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue?’ So, I did,” Keith said.
Two Country Superstars, One Powerful Performance
Eight years later, during Toby Keith’s 2010 concert in Noblesville, Indiana, his fans had no idea what kind of surprise they were in store for when they bought their tickets. They have no idea they were about to witness a star-studded performance.
When thousands of Keith’s fans thought that the concert couldn’t get any better, there comes one of the biggest country music superstars ever to hit the radio waves, and it’s no other than Trace Adkins.
Adkins has been known for being an outspoken supporter of our nation’s military service members and being a devout patriot – two great qualities that resonate well with his fans and other talented and patriotic country singers as Keith.
Kicking off his performance of “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue,” Keith tenderly picked at his American flag guitar and sang the first verse before taking a brief pause. It was at this moment that folks first heard Adkins’ voice ring out at the start of the second verse before he appeared from the side of the stage, with a spotlight highlighting his every step.
Joining Keith at the center stage, the two country crooners bumped fists as they continued with this all-time favorite patriotic anthem. The two were fueled by roaring applause and cheers from the crowd that couldn’t believe their eyes – or ears!
“Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list. And the Statue of Liberty started shakin’ her fist. And the eagle will fly. It’s gonna be hell. When you hear mother, freedom start ringin’ her bell, and it feels like the whole wide world is raining down on you. Brought to you courtesy of the red white and blue,” Keith and Adkins teamed up and started belting out the powerful song.
September 11, 2001, is a date that has been deeply etched in the minds of Americans. As each year passes by, we reflect on the tragedy that took place that day and remember the many lost lives. Tune in below for Toby Keith and Trace Adkins’ powerful performance of “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue.”
Toby Keith, Trace Adkins
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