Toby Keith Remembers How He Wrote His First Song
via INstagram / Toby Keith
Before Toby Keith’s journey came to an end with his passing at the age of 62, due to stomach cancer, he recalled working on his first song as a teenager.
In an Instagram video, Keith shared the story behind writing his first song saying:
“The first song I ever wrote I was 14 or 15 years old. It was called if ‘You’re Handing Out a Heartache.’ It wasn’t bad. It was structured right, but it wasn’t very good either. But the people around here when I played it, they were like ‘Wow, that’s a great song.’ It’s just a song. That was 5,000 songs ago.”
Toby Keith’s Songwriting Process
Keith also revealed how he plays songs with his band to see what’s worth releasing. In an interview with SongwriterUniverse Magazine, he said:
“I didn’t know how good my songs were when we started playing them out. I’d write them and we’d play them in that little circle of friends, but you didn’t know how good they were gonna be on a large scale.
“The next step was to take it to a nightclub and you might sing eight or 10 that you thought were your best and they might not even get a reaction from the crowd.’”
The singer even admitted to writing 50 songs but only finding a good one to keep. He continued:
“‘Looking back on that time period, I can see where I would write 50 songs and I’d get one good one.
“Then maybe I’d write 40 songs and write a good one. Then it would only be 30 songs with a good one, and the gap just kept getting closer and closer and finally got to where anything you wrote was a pretty decent song. It took about six to eight years to get to that point.’”
In 2015, Keith was inducted into the Songwriter Hall of Fame. He once noted:
“I always felt like that the songwriting was the most important part of this whole industry.”
Watch the video here.