Two decades ago to the day, Tim McGraw released his sixth studio album, Set This Circus Down, which birthed four No. 1 hit singles.
The first single from the album, “Grown Men Don’t Cry,” was co-penned by Tom Douglas and Steve Seskin. After its release in the March of that year, the song quickly claimed the No. 1 spot on the US Billboard “Hot Country Singles & Tracks” and peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard “Hot 100.”
Later, McGraw dropped his brooding “Angry All the Time,” written by Bruce Robison, who originally recorded the track. With Faith Hill’s guest vocals, McGraw’s version also reached No. 1 on the Billboard “Hot Country Singles & Tracks” chart.
Tim Mcgraw Gives Fans ‘A Real Americana’ Record
“I wanted to make a real Americana kind of record, something that felt grassroots, [with] a lot of different kinds of music, which is what I grew up listening to,” McGraw said at the time of the release. “I can do any kind of track, but when I sing, it’s going to be country. I’m a [Bruce] Springsteen fan, a Little River Band fan, a Merle Haggard fan, a Keith Whitley fan, a George Strait fan. I just wanted to make a record that was me and my influences.”
Even before McGraw dropped the album, it set the stage to be a huge success with the fans and critics. Set This Circus Down also gave fans the chart-topping single, “The Cowboy in Me.” Co-written by Jeffrey Steele, Al Anderson, and Craig Wiseman, the song followed suit with the other singles. It hit No. 1 on the Billboard “Hot Country Singles & Tracks” chart as well.
Finally, the record spawned “Unbroken.” Co-written by Annie Roboff and Holly Lamar, the song reached No. 1 on the US “Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks” chart.
During that year’s CMA Awards, he also debuted “Things Change” from the album. Although it wasn’t released as a single, it went to No. 32 on the singles chart while his official single, “My Next Thirty Years,” claimed the No. 1 spot, where it remained for five weeks.
“‘My Next Thirty Years’ actually wasn’t one of my favorite records,” McGraw said in an interview about the song. “I probably wouldn’t have picked that as a single. But, oh well,” he added, laughing, “it’s a good thing most people don’t listen to me.”
In aggregate, the record would hold the No. 1 position on the “Top Country Albums” chart after its release. It also peaked at No. 2 on the “Billboard 200” while finding it way to the Top 20 in Canada.
Since its release, Set This Circus Down has since been certified triple Multi-Platinum by the RIAA for selling three million copies in the United States and single platinum for sales in Canada.