Multi-Grammy winner Keith Urban turns 50 today (Oct. 26). And the New Zealand-born and Australia-raised artist could have picked any music city in the world to call home.
But fortunately for Nashville, he chose to make the Tennessee capital his forever home just over 20 years ago.
His band back then was called The Ranch, and two-thirds of the members were from Down Under. When the group released its debut album in 1997, the year was dedicated to non-stop touring. At the time, they were especially excited to open two shows for Tim McGraw.
“So hopefully if that goes well we may do some further dates,” Urban said in a 1997 interview with CMT. “I hope that the album is successful enough for us to find a good audience and successful enough for us to make another one. We learned so much in the studio this time around. We’re already anxious to get back in and start working on the second album.”
Unfortunately, The Ranch would break up a year later. However, Urban’s work with The Ranch paved the way for his incomparable solo career. Since then, he has charted 21 No. 1 singles on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart, won four Grammys, released eight albums and sold millions of tickets and records. His All For The Hall benefit concerts with Vince Gill have raised over $2.6 million for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. And he has exhibited a tireless commitment to supporting several music education initiatives through the CMA Foundation, the Grammy Foundation, the Mr. Holland’s Opus Fund, MusiCares and more.
An all-new CMT Hot 20 Countdown airing Oct. 28 and 29 at 9 a.m. ET will chronicle Urban’s achievements so far.
He heads to the 51st annual CMA Awards with four nominations including a nod for the night’s top honor of entertainer of the year.
Enjoy these great (and goofy) photos of Urban through the years: