If you listened to country radio in the 90s, you’ve probably cranked at least one Clint Black song. His debut album topped the charts. It also produced four number-one singles and one number-three single.
In the early 90s, Black was on top of the world. His career ran strong through the rest of the decade. His sound is one that helped to define the landscape of country music radio for that decade.
Today, Clint Black turns fifty-nine. To celebrate his birthday, we’re looking back at some of the biggest moments in his career.
Clint Black Hits the Country Scene
In the early eighties, Clint Black started to focus on country music, according to Biography. At the time artists like Reba and George Strait were pushing country back to its traditional roots. That was the sound that Black loved. Throughout the decade, he worked day jobs and played smoky bars and honky-tonks in his home state of Texas.
In 1989, he signed with RCA and dropped “Killin’ Time,” and kicked off one of the most successful careers in country music.
This record shook the country music world. It peaked at number one on the country album chart and went platinum in less than a year. The lead single, “A Better Man,” was the first debut single by a male country artist to peak at number one. Give the track a listen and you’ll see why.
The debut single and the title track of the album would go on to occupy the top two spots of the year-end country music singles chart.
To say Clint Black’s career was off to a good start is an understatement.
Straight to the Top
Number-one hits and a platinum album were only the beginning for Clint Black. He took home the Horizon Award from the Country Music Association in 1989. The next year he won the CMA Award for Male Vocalist of the Year.
The Academy of Country Music handed Clint Black several awards in his first year as well. He took home ACM Awards for Top New Male Vocalist and Top Male Vocalist. Black also earned the ACM Award for Album of the Year and “A Better Man” won Single of the Year.
He won the American Music Award for Favorite New Country Artist in 1990.
In January of 1991, he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.
Later, in 1996 Clint Black became the fourth country music artist to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This puts him in the same club as legends of country music like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Garth Brooks. At the time, he had 23 chart-topping singles and several platinum albums. He was a star long before the Walk of Fame memorialized him. It’s nice to see his accomplishments literally set in stone, though.
Clint Black Does Things Differently
Before we end this look back at Clint Black’s career, there are a couple of things that you should know about him.
Firstly, he is one of the only country music stars that has at least co-written every one of his hit songs. Even those who write their own music tend to cut other artists’ songs. For example, Willie Nelson is a prolific songwriter. His first hit, though, was “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” which was written decades before he made it a hit.
This personal connection to the music he performs allows Clint Black to feel the songs he cuts a little more deeply than some artists.
His personal touch goes a little deeper than the writing process. When he recorded his platinum-selling debut album, he didn’t use session musicians. Again, this isn’t the norm for many country singers. Session players are some of the best musicians in the business. So, most country singers will rely on session players to fill out their albums. However, you can’t beat chemistry built over time. This is why Clint Black used his road band in the studio.
Clint Black was one of the biggest names in 90s country. His music stands the test of time. That alone is something to celebrate. Happy birthday, Clint.