I ain’t as good as I once was,
I got a few years on me now,
But there was a time,
Back in my prime,
When I could really lay it down,
If you need some love tonight,
Then I might have just enough,
I ain’t as good once was,
But I’m as good once, as I ever was.

Toby Keith (Photo by carolinacountrymusicfest.com)

Toby Keith’s Signature Song

From the 2005 album Honkytonk University, “As Good as I Once Was” is a country song by Oklahoman native Toby Keith. It peaked at no. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Additionally, this is one of Keith’s songs that spent six weeks at no. 1. The other song was his 2003 single “Beer for My Horses.”

Originally, Keith was not the only one who wrote this song. His long-time friend, Scotty Emerick, co-wrote this song with him. In 2006, Broadcast Music, Inc. named “As Good as I Once Was” the Song of the Year. Since then, the song has become one of Keith’s signature songs, as well as one of his most successful.

The Story Behind

As Good As I Once Was” is a phrase that Toby Keith grew up with. According to Scotty Emerick, Keith’s good friend and co-writer of the song, it was a phrase that was coined by Burt Reynolds on a TV show, and Toby’s dad used it often.

Emerick watched the TV show episode, after the song had become a hit, and said,

“Burt Reynolds came and he sat down and said, ‘You know, I’m not as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was.’ That was on a rerun of a show from the ’80s or something. I think that saying has been around a little bit. Which is cool, because we had never heard of it as a country song. But I had never heard of it that way, so that was Toby’s idea.”

Keith, on the other hand, stated on his website,

“Probably my favorite song on the album. If I hadn’t come out of the box with Honkytonk U, I’d have come with this one. It didn’t matter what order, they were going to be singles one and two. I can always tell when I’ve got a special one as soon as I get done. My dad used to say this line some. The first verse is about being with a woman, two is about fighting, and three is saying don’t sell me short because I’ll surprise you.”

Song Reception

Gaining popularity together, the songwriting partners Toby Keith and Scotty Emerick have amassed success. Together, they have written over a hundred songs and scored a number of no. 1 country hits.

Emerick credits Keith with the ideas for most of those hits, but clearly, he deserves half the credit. He says,

“We really enjoy writing songs, and really enjoy good songs. It’s not an easy thing to do, or everybody would do it. It’s kind of a constant thing. For example, I was up at 2 in the morning last night with a buddy of mine trying to figure something out. It’s a lot of work. But it’s all out of passion, it’s a labor of love. Because once you finally finish a song that’s all yours, and it’s really good, and it’ll always be there, long after we’re all gone. That’s kind of cool. That’s the priceless thing about it, you can’t put a price on stuff like that. Plus, I never did it to get rich or to make money, anyway. I always had a dream to make a living doing it, but as long as I was doing it, it didn’t matter.”

Even with the success of his music, Scotty Emerick’s feet are still firmly on the ground. He explains,

“Some things have gone way beyond my expectations, and then some things have gone short of my expectations.”

“So it gives me a good perspective from both sides.”

Watch and listen to Toby Keith’s “As Good As I Once Was” below.

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