Carrie Underwood Tributes Toby Keith with ‘Should’ve Been a Cowboy’ Cover at BMI Awards

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for BMI)

It was quite a festive night as Carrie Underwood sang Should’ve Been a Cowboy, a classic song by Toby Keith, at the BMI Awards. Underwood was paying tribute to Keith, who is the 2022 BMI Icon Award winner. He picked up his honor at the 2022 BMI Country Awards on Tuesday night. That song was the first hit to top the charts for Keith. The ceremony and celebration took place at Broadcast Music Inc, located on Music Row in Nashville.

“It was artists like you that taught kids like me that greatness is possible,” Underwood said to her fellow Oklahoma native before starting to sing, Country Now reports. Underwood was joined on stage by a two-piece band. The lyrics still ring true all the way to today from that 1993 hit from Keith.

Carrie Underwood Among Those Paying Tribute To Keith

“I should’ve been a cowboy / I should’ve learned to rope and ride / Wearin’ my six-shooter, ridin’ my pony on a cattle drive / Stealin’ the young girls’ hearts / Just like Gene and Roy / Singin’ those campfire songs / Woah, I should’ve been a cowboy,” Underwood sang as Keith watched. 

Dean Dillon and Scotty Emerick, Keith’s frequent collaborators, also honored Keith by performing A Little Too Late. That song is a fan favorite that Keith released in 2006 on his 10th studio album, White Trash with Money. Also, Eric Church stopped by and delivered a heck of a performance of I Love This Bar. That song, written by Keith and Emerick, is on the 2003 Keith album titled Shock’n Y’all.

Keith Felt Like Songwriting Was His Key To Success

Keith received this year’s BMI Icon Award. He joins an elite list of songwriters that includes Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn, and Hank Williams, Jr., to receive the coveted title. “When I got to Nashville, they said, ‘You got to get affiliated,'” Keith said. “I said, ‘What does that mean?’ They said, ‘Well, you wrote these songs — you gotta get affiliated.’ So, since 1990 or ’91, I have been affiliated with the greatest organization in the music business, and that’s BMI. They’ve been so great to me as a songwriter because I knew that even if I didn’t make it as an artist, that maybe somebody would cut my songs. I always felt that the songwriting was the most important part of this whole industry.”

Keith has 32 No.1 singles and 40 million albums sold to his credit. He is a big hitmaker in the country music world. Keith wrote a chart-topping hit every year for 20 consecutive years.