Clint Black helped launch country music into the American mainstream with 1989's ultra-successful Killin' Time. His invigorating mix of old and new served as a bridge between 1980s New Traditionalism and '90s New Country.
- Birth name: Clint Patrick Black
- Birthday: February 4, 1962
- Place of birth: Long Branch, New Jersey
Although Clint Black is most associated with Texas, the singer was actually born in Long Branch, New Jersey, in 1962. Black grew up near Houston, where he began playing music in his teens. After dropping out of high school, he worked at local saloons honing his skills.
A Killer Debut
In the late '80s, Clint Black met up with manager Bill Ham who helped him get signed to RCA Records.
In 1989, Black released his debut album, Killin' Time; Black wrote most of the album's tunes himself, collaborating on half with longtime songwriting partner Hayden Nicholas.
The record proved to be a benchmark in new country music. For a debut album, it was an unprecedented commercial powerhouse -- eventually going triple platinum. Meanwhile Killin' Time's smooth honky-tonk sound had a mass appeal that would have a lasting influence on country music of the 1990s.
Besides laying claim to a raft of number one singles ("A Better Man," "Killin' Time," Nobody's Home"), Killin’ Time also earned plenty of critical kudos. It was no surprise when Black won Best Male Vocalist at the 1990 CMA Awards.
Killin' Time would often go on to find itself listed among the best country albums of the 1980s.
No Sophomore Slump
Black released his follow-up, Put Yourself in My Shoes, in 1990. It went double platinum and he joined the Grand Ole Opry the same year.
The next year, Black married television presenter Lisa Hartman.
Around the same time he broke up acrimoniously with manager Ham over a contract disputes.
New Creative Territory
While Black was always a strong seller in the 1990s and '00s, future albums would never match the overwhelming sales of his first two records.
Increasingly, Black also balanced his more rootsy country sound with increasingly pop-fueled numbers in such albums as Spend My Time, Christmas With You, and Drinkin’ Songs & Other Logic.
Black, who had occasionally accepted brief roles on films and sitcoms, also continued to be a presence on TV -- notably appearing as one of the star-studded contestants on the reality show Celebrity Apprentice.
Clint Black has a clean, bright country sound comparable to Alan Jackson and early Garth Brooks.
Black's musical influences include George Jones, George Strait, and Lefty Frizzell as well as '80s rock bands such as Dire Straits.
Best Clint Black Songs:
- "A Better Man"
- "Nothing's News"
- "Like the Rain"
- "When My Ship Comes In"
- "Nobody's Home"