Such disheartening news to hear Joe Diffie’s passing on March 29, 2020, two days he announced that he has tested positive of the Covid-19 virus.

He was known to be a strong supporter of the non-profit organization, First Steps which provides education for mentally and physically challenged children. Joe Diffie had been organizing charity concerts and golf tournaments for the organization from 1992 to the early 2000s.

Let us honor Joe Diffie’s memory by taking a look back on his outstanding career.

21st Century Success

Joe Diffie was first known for his lyrical ballads but later in his career, he included songs with faster tempos. At the entry of the 2000s, Diffie also had a fresh start with a new label. Sony Nashville made a corporate evaluation and they transferred Diffie from Epic to Monument.

In 2001, Diffie recorded “In Another World,” his lone album with Monument. The album’s title track would then peak at number 10 on the country charts and on the 66th spot of the Billboard Hot 100. The song also received several favorable reviews after its release. The majority noted the depth of the song and how its emotional appeal perfectly fit Diffie’s tenor voice.

After Monument called off its operations, Joe Diffie joined Mark Chesnutt and Tracy Lawrence for tours in 2002. The same year, Joe Diffie got inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

In 2003, Joe Diffie released Tougher Than Nails under Broken Bow Records. The album included five singles that were co-written by Joe and a feature of his duet with George Jones. The song and album’s title track, “Tougher Than Nailsbecame a top 20 hit while the single “If I Could Only Bring You Back” charted at number 50 for eight weeks. Reviews unanimously agree that the talent that made stardom possible for Joe was completely evident in this particular album.

Joe Diffie’s songs would still continue to gain attention when in 2005, his single, “My Give a Damn’s Busted” was covered by Jo Dee Messina. The single was first featured in Diffie’s “In Another World” album. Messina’s cover of the song became the number-one single of the year.

In 2008, Diffie released a compilation of his recordings with Epic titled “Ultimate Collection.”

Joe Diffie’s Rise to Stardom

In 1986, after experiencing months of depression following the bankruptcy of his business and the divorce with his first wife, Joe Diffie worked with Gibson Guitar Corporation. He contacted songwriters and recorded demos that would, later on, be sung by artists like Ricky Van Shelton, Billy Dean, Alabama, and Forever Sisters. It was only in 1990 when Diffie was able to sign his first recording contract with Epic.

From being a fulltime demo artist to making a name for himself, Joe Diffie’s first album with Epic was “A Thousand Winding Roads.” “Home,” the album’s first track charted and was at no. 1 of the Billboard Hot Country Songs. Since then, Diffie was able to produce 25 more singles that charted on Billboard Hot Country Songs. More than that, 5 of those singles made it to the top of the chart, 12 were on the top 10 while the rest were still found on the top 40.

Joe Diffie also had several prestigious awards under his name. Among those were the 1990 Cash Box’s Male Vocalist of the Year, his 1993 nomination for the Grammy’s Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for “Not Too Much” with Mary Chapin Carpenter, the ACM’s Vocal Event of the Year in 1993 for “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair with George Jones, and the 1998 Grammy award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for “Same Old Train” with Marty Stuart.

The straight and narrow path
He showed me
Turned into a thousand winding roads.
My footsteps carry me away
But in my mind I’m always going home

– Home, Joe Diffie