OFFSTAGE: Toby Keith Will Never Forget His First Time

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

This happened 20 years ago, but Toby Keith remembers it vividly — like it was yesterday. It was the first time he heard his first single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” on the radio. In an interview with , he recalled how it was a little bit of a survival of the fittest situation between him and his labelmates at the time. “There were three brand new artists on Mercury in ’93,” he said. “It was me and Shania Twain and a guy named John Brannen. We were all on one bus doing live shows for these radio concerts. We were going around doing a lot of press. We were brand new artists and they called us the Triple Play tour because they put our three singles out two weeks apart.” He said they were on that very bus driving through Bowling Green, Ky., when it happened. “All of us were new and giddy and happy about this opportunity. Right there on the radio, it came on and we were all high-fiving.” While Keith doesn’t mention it, I’m sure they were also high-fiving if and when they were on that bus when they heard Twain’s “What Made You Say That” and Brannen’s “Moonlight and Magnolias” on the radio.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.