Country music has a long history that includes numerous events that have aligned with the political environment. Red or Blue. Right wing or Left wing. Country singers have found themselves supporting their beliefs or defending them (whichever way you want to look at it) over the course of the last 60 years.
5 Times Country Music Got Political:
1. The Dixie Chicks
Perhaps the biggest scandal in recent history took place in March 2003. The Dixie Chicks, arguably the biggest band of the time, were playing a small club show in the UK when lead singer Natalie Maines infamously told the crowd “We’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.” The slight to President George W. Bush caused shock waves back home as radio stations and fans alike began to revolt against the band. The trio’s career was never the same, although they have continued to perform and release new music.
2. “Stand By Your Man”
Tammy Wynette had absolutely nothing to do with this political snafu. In 1992, then-Governor Bill Clinton appeared on TV to address rumors of an affair with Gennifer Flowers at the height of his presidential campaign. He was joined by his wife, Hillary Clinton, who made the now famous comment, “I’m not sitting here some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.” The comment caused an uproar with some taking offense.
3. Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee”
In the late ’60s, Merle Haggard decided to address those who opposed the Vietnam War by releasing “Okie from Muskogee.” The tune was a response to the way the opposition had been protesting the war. It also has led to a popular misconception that the Hag is actually from Oklahoma. He was born in a small town outside of Bakersfield, Calif., but both his parents are native Okies.
4. Toby Keith
Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Toby Keith became a mouthpiece for the pain and confusion an entire nation felt. His attitudes were reflected in his music. “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” was released in late 2001 and detailed the singer’s support for the military and retaliation on the Taliban. In 2003, his Shock’n Y’all album include “The Taliban Song,” which was a comedic look at life in Afghanistan for those not associated with the Taliban.
5. Hank Williams, Jr.
Hank Jr., has always been outspoken, but in 2011 he made waves with a single comment about President Barack Obama. During an appearance on “Fox and Friends,” Bocephus compared Obama to Adolph Hitler, saying, “That would be like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu.” As a result, ESPN decided to end their two decade relationship with the singer who was the voice of Monday Night Football.
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