Tim McGraw scored his lucky 13th chart-topper when “Grown Men Don’t Cry” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart on June 16, 2001.
Tim McGraw has always had a good “ear” for radio success. He proved it once again when he recorded “Grown Men Don’t Cry,” which was co-penned by Tom Douglas and Steve Seskin. Of course, “Grown Men Don’t Cry” wouldn’t be the last time Tim found success with a Tom Douglas-penned hit. Tom also had a hand in writing Tim’s “Southern Voice” (2009) and “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” (2014).
Circus Comes to Town
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Tim maintained an incredibly consistent presence on country radio, especially during the Shania Twain, Dixie Chicks, and Faith Hill years when female artists were dominating the medium. Yeah, those years were much different times than the present.
But Tim McGraw was a force. And he was cranking out No. 1 hits like “Where the Green Grass Grows” (1998), “Something Like That” (1999), “My Next Thirty Years” (2000), and more. He was also garnering a lot of national media attention for his infamous “Horse Incident” with Kenny Chesney.
Nonetheless, when Tim got ready to release his sixth studio album, Set This Circus Down, he needed a lead single to set the stage. Of course, he chose “Grown Men Don’t Cry.” But there was trouble brewing at his label, Curb Records.
Tim had planned to release Set This Circus Down as his pre-Christmas present to his fans in 2000. However, Curb Records released a Greatest Hits package in November 2000, against Tim’s wishes. While his relationship with label head Mike Curb turned decidedly frosty, Tim continued to fulfill his contractual obligations to Curb Records until 2011, when he signed with Big Machine Label after a court battle with Curb.
Instead of late 2000, Set This Circus Down was slated for release on April 24, 2001. Tim McGraw released the album’s lead single, “Grown Men Don’t Cry,” on March 26, 2001.
“Grown Men Don’t Cry” grew into an immediate hit. It topped the Billboard Country Airplay chart on June 16, 2001. And that was just the start of the radio success for Set This Circus Down, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The album’s next three singles—”Angry All the Time,” “The Cowboy in Me,” and “Unbroken”—all reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. Four singles. Four No. 1 hits.
Set This Circus Down has since been certified 3X Platinum by the RIAA for sales of 3 million units.
Tim headlined a pair of box-office-bonanza tours in 2001: the Set This Circus Down roadshow and his summer tour with Kenny Chesney. The tours, and the strength of the album, helped Tim McGraw take home the trophy for Entertainer of the Year at the CMA Awards in 2001.