When Oklahoma native Blake Shelton made the decision to move to Nashville shortly after graduating from high school, little did he know that stardom would come to him fairly quickly and in a big way. His very first single shot straight to the top on its way to becoming one of the most successful debut singles in country music history. With a slew of No. 1 singles and high-charting albums, rugged good-looks and wonderful self-deprecating humor, Shelton continues to dazzle with his uncanny ability to straddle the line between contemporary and traditional country.
Origins and Early Musical Successes
Born Blake Tollison Shelton on June 18, 1976 in Ada, Oklahoma, Shelton revealed a love for music as a young child when he used to sing in his bedroom. His mother thought it was cute, so when he was eight, she entered him in a talent show where he competed against fifty little girls. He didn’t care for the experience, mainly because he was embarrassed to be the only boy in the competition. His talent, however, was undeniable. Five years later he was singing in various country music shows around his hometown of Ada.
Two Fateful Meetings Cement Shelton’s Future
Shelton was seventeen when he met and performed for songwriter, Mae Boren Axton, the lady responsible for co-writing Elvis Presley’s classic “Heartbreak Hotel.” Shelton performed at a tribute show honoring Axton, and she was so impressed with him that she recommended he move to Nashville. Just two weeks after graduating from high school in 1994, he packed his bags and his guitar and moved to Nashville.
It didn’t take long for Shelton to realize that he needed to make money while trying to open doors in Music City, so he turned to Mae Axton again, and she hired him to paint her house. Sheldon met Mae’s son, singer-songwriter-actor, Hoyt Axton, who was staying in his tour bus in his mother’s driveway. Hoyt would bring young Shelton onto his bus, play music and talk about the business, which further inspired Shelton to keep working toward his dream.
Shelton’s Debut Album Sizzles
Shelton eventually signed his first major recording contract with Giant Records in 1998. It took three years for his debut album and single to be released, but the delay proved worth the wait. At one point, he was going to release the song, “I Wanna Talk About Me,” as his debut single, but management decided it wasn't the right song, so it went to Toby Keith instead, who made it his seventh No. 1 hit.
Instead, Shelton’s first release was “Austin,” which also became his first No. 1 Billboard country hit. It also climbed into the top 20 on the Hot 100. “Austin” spent five weeks at No. 1, which tied Billy Ray Cyrus’ record for a debut single's stay at No. 1.
While “Austin” was climbing the charts, Shelton’s label, Giant, closed shop, and his contract was transferred to Giant’s parent company, Warner Brothers Records. His self-titled debut album was released on July 31, 2001, peaking at No. 3 on its way to going gold. Two more singles followed, including “All Over Me” (No. 14), which he co-wrote with his musical idol, Earl Thomas Conley, and “Ol’ Red” (No. 14), which would become his signature song.
Sophomore Album The Dreamer
Shelton’s hot-streak continued in 2003 with the release of his second album, The Dreamer. The album’s first single, “The Baby,” shot to No. 1 where it stayed for three weeks. Two more singles were released, including “Heavy Liftin’” (No. 32) and “Playboys of the Southwestern World.” The Dreamer peaked at No. 2 and became Shelton's second consecutive gold album.
Shelton’s No. 1 Hit Parade Continues
Shelton put any flash-in-the-pan rumors to rest when his third album, 2004's Blake Shelton’s Bar & Grill, became his third straight album to climb into the top 3 on the country charts. The album’s first single, “When Somebody Knows You that Well,” stalled at No. 37, but its follow-up, “Some Beach,” spent four weeks at No. 1. Two more top 10 singles followed, including “Goodbye Time” (No. 10) and “Nobody but Me” (No. 4).
Shelton’s fourth studio album, Pure BS, was released in 2007, and it became his fourth straight album to yield a No. 1 hit. The album's first single, “Don’t Make Me,” climbed to No. 12, while the next single, “The More I Drink,” peaked at No. 19. The third single from Pure BS, “Home,” became his fourth No. 1 hit.
Shelton’s fifth studio album, Startin’ Fires, yielded his fifth No. 1 hit with “She Wouldn’t Be Gone,” which was followed by “I’ll Just Hold On” (No. 8).
Best Blake Shelton Songs”
- “Ol’ Red”
- “The Baby”
- “Some Beach”
- “She Wouldn’t Be Gone”
Blake Shelton Albums:
- Blake Shelton
- The Dreamer
- Blake Shelton’s Bar & Grill
- Pure BS
- Startin’ Fires
- Hillbilly Bone