On This Day: Luke Bryan Drops ‘Tailgates & Tanlines’ Album in 2011

by Jonathan Howard

Luke Bryan has quite the anniversary today. Ten years ago, Bryan dropped Tailgates & Tanlines, the album credited with launching his career. The country star had already started to find his place around 2010, but this album was the game-changer. Tailgates ended up being a country-party album that was inescapable for what seemed like years.

This album is filled with classic Luke Bryan songs. Country Girl (Shake It For Me), Drunk on You, and more vaulted Bryan’s career to new heights. Just 35-years-old back then, Bryan had more of a boyish look still. Bryan is featured on the cover of the album with messy hair, bright white teeth, and a v-neck shirt. While the album is turning 10, Bryan’s career is charging right along.

Since the 2011 debut of Tailgates & Tanlines, Luke Bryan has become the biggest star in pop-country. Not only has he gone on to release a total of 10 studio albums, but he is one of three judges on ABC’s American Idol. When he isn’t finding America’s next best singing talent, Bryan is usually on tour.

The rise to stardom has not been a slow one. Prior albums, Doin’ My Thing and I’ll Stay Me, had radio and mainstream success with songs like Rain Is A Good Thing. Those albums gave him his first two No. 1s along with other chart success. However, that Luke Bryan sound really developed in 2011 on Tailgates. The current country music radio sound has been heavily influenced by Bryan since 2011. That became clear just two years after his breakthrough album.

Luke Bryan Changed the Game

With the party anthems, slow-love songs of innocence, and the ability to invoke nostalgia with a few words, Luke Bryan took control of the country music scene. While Tailgates & Tanlines got Bryan off the launching pad, his 2013 follow-up boosted him higher than Jeff Bezos on his Blue Origin flight.

Two years after Tailgates & Tanlines dropped, Luke Bryan was named “Entertainer of the Year” by the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. His follow-up album, Crash My Party, catapulted off the 2011 success and earned Bryan quite the award. The country music star was awarded the ACM Album of the Decade award in 2019 for that 2013 classic.

While Bryan is likely the world’s most popular contemporary country star, he lives a fairly down-to-Earth life. His wife Caroline and him are constantly trying to prank each other. One of the most recent incidents occurred on the road for Luke’s 45th birthday.

Luke Bryan might be the world’s biggest country star, but he is still a dad. His family presented the country star with some great gifts on stage for his birthday. Those gifts included a lamp, fire extinguisher, potato chips, and some Jockey underwear. With the 10th anniversary of Tailgates & Tanlines Caroline and the family should have quite the celebration for Luke planned.