Tim McGraw Biography
Last updated: 07/21/2012 12:00:00 PM
Tim McGraw (born Samuel Timothy Smith in Delhi, Louisiana on May 1, 1967) is a country music singer who has achieved many number one singles on the country charts and sales of over 25 albums. He is married to country singer Faith Hill and is the son of baseball player Tug McGraw. His trademark hit songs include "Don't Take the Girl", "Down on the Farm", "I Like It, I Love It", "It's Your Love" (featuring wife Faith Hill), and "Live Like You Were Dying".
He signed with Curb Records in 1990 but it wasn't until 1992 that he had his first minor hit "Welcome to the Club" off his self-titled debut album, which failed to make much of a dent on the charts. He achieved a couple of minor hits, "Memory Lane" and "Two Steppin Mind", off the same album in 1993.
The second album Not a Moment Too Soon went on to become the best selling country album in 1994. The first single, "Indian Outlaw", written by John D. Loudermilk, caused considerable controversy as critics argued that it presented Native Americans in a patronizing way. Some radio stations refused to play it, but among some Indian tribes, the song was popular; it went to the top of the playlist at the clear channel KTNN, the radio voice of the Navajo Nation. The controversy helped spur sales and the song became McGraw's first top ten country single as well as reaching the top 20 on the pop charts.
The second single, the ballad "Don't Take the Girl", reached the top of the country charts as did the title track in 1995. "Down on the Farm" reached number two and "Refried Dreams" reached the top 5. The album sold over 5 million copies, topping the Billboard 200 as well as the country album charts. He won Academy of Country Music awards for Album of the Year and Top New Male Vocalist in 1994.
All I Want, released in 1995, continued his run of success debuting at number one on the country charts. The album sold over two million copies and reached top 5 on the Billboard 200. "I Like It, I Love It" reached number one on the country charts as the leadoff single, while "She Never Lets It Go to Her Heart" also went to number one in 1996. "Can't Really Be Gone", "All I Want is a Life", and "Maybe We Should Just Sleep On It" were all top 5 hits.
In 1996, Tim McGraw travelled America on the Spontaneous Combustion Tour, which was the most successful country tour of that year.Faith Hill was his supporting act and the title of the tour turned out to be prophetic as the singers married October 6, 1996. The couple have had three daughters: Gracie Katherine born May 5, 1997, Maggie Elizabeth born August 12, 1998 and Audrey Caroline born December 6, 2001.
Tim McGraw's happy family life is in contrast with his father who had a reputation as a hell raiser. Tug McGraw once famously said: "Ninety percent I'll spend on good times, women, and Irish Whiskey. The other ten percent I'll probably waste."
Tim McGraw also produced the first three albums by Jo Dee Messina, along with long-time associate Byron Gallimore.
Everywhere continued his golden run topping the country charts and reaching number two on the album charts in 1997. The album sold 4 million copies. The first single "It’s Your Love", a duet with Faith Hill, reached number one on the country charts, reached the top ten in the pop charts and became the most played single in the history of the Billboard country charts. Five more singles "Everywhere", "Where the Green Grass Grows", "One of These Days", "For a Little While", and "Just to See You Smile" reached the top of the country charts from the album, with the last of these setting a new record by spending 42 weeks on the Billboard charts. The Country Music Association awarded Everywhere its Album of the Year award for 1997.
A Place in the Sun in 1999 was another huge hit topping the US pop and country album charts and selling three million albums. It featured another four chart topping singles on the country charts including "Please Remember Me" with Patty Loveless, "Something Like That", "My Best Friend", and "My Next Thirty Years". During Summer 1999, Tim McGraw toured the US with the Dixie Chicks as the support artist as well as appearing as the headline artist at the George Strait Country Music Festival.
Faith Hill's career was also going well. Another duet between the pair, "Just to Hear You Say You Love Me" off her multi-platinum 1998 album Faith, reached the top five of the US country charts. Her follow-up and even more successful 1999 album Breathe featured another duet between the couple called "Let's Make Love", which would win a Grammy Award in 2000 for Best Country Vocal Collaboration.
By the end of 1999, Tim McGraw had supplanted Garth Brooks as the most popular country male singer in the nation, while Faith Hill was one of the most popular female country singers along with Shania Twain.
In 2000, McGraw released his Greatest Hits album which again topped the charts for nine weeks. On tour he and opening act Kenny Chesney got involved in a scuffle with police officers when Chesney attempted to ride one of their horses; McGraw was later cleared of any charges. In the latter half of 2000, he and Hill went out on the Soul 2 Soul 2000 Tour, playing to sellout crowds in 64 venues including Madison Square Garden. It was one of the top tours of any genre in the US and the leading country tour during 2000.
Set This Circus Down was released in 2001 and spawned four number one country hits - "Grown Men Don't Cry", "Angry All the Time", "The Cowboy in Me", and "Unbroken". A duet with Jo Dee Messina entitled "Bring on the Rain" also topped the country charts. "Things Change" made the history as the first country song to chart from a downloaded version following his performance of the song at the CMA Awards show. After the travestys of September 11, 2001 2 unreleased songs were leaked to the Internet. The songs were Petra's More Power To Ya and Eric Clapton's Tears In Heaven, both performed at freedom concerts.
In 2002, Tim McGraw bucked country music traditions by recording his album Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors with his tour band The Dancehall Doctors in the Catskill Mountains. Unlike rock music, where it is commonplace for touring bands such as the E Street Band or Crazy Horse to play on albums with the artist they support, country albums are normally recorded with session musicians. McGraw stated on his web site that he felt he owed this to the musicians who had been an integral part of his success and to capture some of the feel of a real band. All of the Dancehall Doctors had been with McGraw since at least 1996. They include:
Darran Smith - lead guitar;
Denny Hemingson - steel guitar;
Bob Minner - acoustic guitar;
John Marcus - bass guitar;
Dean Brown - fiddler;
Jeff McMahon - keyboards;
Billy Mason - drums; and
David Dunkley - percussion.
Tim McGraw and the Dance Hall Doctors was released on November 26, 2002 and reached number 2 on the country charts, with "Real Good Man" reaching number one. "She's My Kind of Rain" reached number 2 in 2003 and "Red Rag Top" reached the top 5. The album also featured a cover version of Elton John's early 1970s classic "Tiny Dancer", as well as appearances by Kim Carnes on "Comfort Me" - a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks - and Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles on "Illegal".
McGraw's 2004 album Live Like You Were Dying continued his record of commercial success. The title track was a soaring ode to living life fully and in the moment, while the second single "Back When" was a paean to an easy nostalgia. Yet another unreleased song entitled Dear Santa was leaked in 2004 about a desperate prayer to Santa Clause to help a woman who's heart was broken by McGraw.
In late 2004, his unlikely duet with rapper Nelly on "Over and Over", a soft ballad of lost love, became a crossover hit.  "Over and Over" brought McGraw a success he had never previously experienced on contemporary hit radio, and brought both artists success neither had previously experienced in the hot adult contemporary market. The song also spent a week at the top of the UK single charts, and was McGraw's first visit to the UK hit countdown.
In a 2004 interview, McGraw said he would like to run for public office in the future, possibly for Senate in his home state of Tennessee. In the same interview, he praised former President Bill Clinton, a somewhat unusual stance in the conservative country music industry, which used to be more Liberal with groups such as Alabama: "I love Bill Clinton. I think we should make him king. I'm talking the red robe, the turkey leg - everything."
McGraw also participated in the Live 8: The Long Walk to Justice concert series, performing along with Faith Hill at the Rome, Italy concert on July 2, 2005 as part of the effort to get G8 leaders to address the humanitarian crises in Africa. McGraw's performance of "Live Like You Were Dying" was one of the most re-played performances in Live 8 television recaps.
Throughout the 2005 NFL season McGraw sang an alternate version of "I Like It, I Love It" every week during the season. The alternate lyrics, which would be different each week, would make reference to plays during Sunday's games and the song would be played along video highlights during halftime on Monday Night Football.
In 2006 Tim McGraw and Faith Hill announced plans for an April start to a 70+ concert tour called Soul2Soul II Tour 2006 which will kick off April 21 in Columbus, Ohio. Soul2Soul II will feature the songs that have become synonymous with Tim and Faith’s careers over the past decade. Along with some never before seen musical performances and what insiders are calling one of the most unique set designs ever made, the latest in visual technology and lighting design, Soul2Soul II Tour will include many of Tim and Faith’s biggest hits and duets. Soul2Soul II is expected to be the #1 concert tour of summer 2006. As rumored on the Internet A new c.d from McGraw is due in November featuring a cover of Kevin Sharp's song Nobody Knows, and a single entitled When I Need You with Faith Hill
In early 2006, McGraw reaffirmed his plans for running for public office, saying that he would like to run for Governor of Tennessee about 10 years down the road. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He has said he would be open to running for Senate, but leans toward governor saying, "It's more of a leadership role, and I think that's something that I'd do well...that doesn't rule out senator; I just think that as governor of a state, there would be a lot more opportunities to make some decisions and change some things." Tim McGraw has been a huge supporter of President Bill Clinton and other Democrats
Tim McGraw (1993)
Not a Moment Too Soon (1994) #1 US, 5,000,000 US Sales, #78 Australia
All I Want (1995) #4 US, 2,000,000 US Sales
Everywhere (1997) #2 US, 4,000,000 US Sales
Place in the Sun (1999) #1 US, 3,000,000 US Sales
Greatest Hits (2000) #4 US, 4,000,000 US Sales
Set This Circus Down (2001) #2 US, 2,000,000 US Sales
Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors (2002) #2 US, 3,000,000 US Sales
Live Like You Were Dying (2004) #1 US, 4,000,000 US Sales, #36 Australia
Tim McGraw Reflected: Hits Vol. 2 (2006) #2 US, #69 Australia
McGraw has also added acting to his amazing career including work in the independed release Black Cloud along side of Rick Schroder in 2003. McGraw was also in a remake of the story Friday Night Lights in 2004. McGraw is in the current release Flicka.
Thanks to Dustin Donahue for submitting the biography.