September 12

9/11 TRIBUTE: “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” by Toby Keith

man with guitar, man wearing cowboy hat
Toby Keith | Photo Credits:

American country music artist Toby Keith sure has a lot of patriotic songs to share with us but this one, in particular, is definitely on top of the bunch. Inspired by the death of his father in March 2001, as well as the terrorist attacks that happened on September 11, 2001, Keith conceived this poignant song. “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)” is a tune that expresses Keith’s passion, patriotism, and inspiration.

The Song and Its Inspiration

Released on May 27, 2002, “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)” was put to paper by Toby Keith in late 2001. He then recorded it early the following year. In addition, he also co-produced the song with friend James Stroud for DreamWorks Nashville Records. It is the lead single from his seventh studio album, Unleashed.

As earlier mentioned, “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)” came into being because of the death of his father and the attacks that happened on 9/11.

Father’s Death & 9/11 Attacks

On March 24, 2001, Keith perished as his father, Hubert Keith Covel, who was a war veteran and a patriot, died in a car accident. Later that year, in September, the Islamic group Al-Qaeda took control four American passenger planes and attacked the World Trade Center buildings and others. This infamous event became known as 9/11.

Hence, these tragic events prompted Keith to conceive such a powerful song about his father’s patriotism and faith in America. Reportedly, it only took him 20 minutes to create “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American).

Moreover, Keith declares that it was penned with reference to the war in Afghanistan. He shared:

“But you don’t have to listen but once to the words to understand that the song was strictly for Afghanistan. I have no stance on the Iraq war. But the second [that I say], ? have no stance there, I’m not smart enough to tell whether we should be in there or not.”

Initially, Keith just dedicated the song to military personnel and did not think of recording it. However, Commandant of the Marine Corps James l. Jones suggested to Keith that he rather record it to inspire more people.  He said that it was his duty as an American citizen to record the song. Further, he told Keith:

“It’s your job as an entertainer to lift the morale of the troops. If you want to serve, that is what you can do.”

With this, Keith made it the lead single of his 2002 album Unleashed. Reviews of the song as well as its impact to fans were favorable. In fact, it sat atop the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. Meanwhile, it reached no. 25 on the pop chart giving Keith his biggest solo on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

What Keith Has to Say

In an interview with CBS in November 2003, Keith shared his take on the song. He revealed what he thinks about the song:

“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. You know, some people wept when they heard it. Some people got goose bumps. Some people were emotionally moved. [Others] cheered, turned their fists in the air.”

Watch this powerful song of Toby Keith honoring our troops and heroes of the United States of America:

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and Blue, Courtesy of the Red, Toby Keith, White

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