Toby Keith’s Legacy Lives On: ’35 Biggest Hits’ Claims No. 1 Spot on Billboard 200

This is the late country star’s first No.1 on the chart since 2010.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

February 13, 2024


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Toby Keith; Photo Provided

It’s been one week since Toby Keith passed away from stomach cancer, and in that time, fans and fellow artists have proved that the country icon’s legacy will continue to live on through his storytelling.  

The Album Was Originally Released In 2008

Billboard has revealed that Keith’s 16-year-old hits collection dubbed 35 Biggest Hits has re-entered the Billboard 200 albums chart after selling 66,000 copies in the last week. It is now credited as the first posthumous project to land at No. 1 since 2021.

Toby Keith - 35 Biggest Hits
Toby Keith – 35 Biggest Hits

The best-of collection, which debuted at No. 2 on May 24, 2008, offers fans a place to indulge in 31 of Keith’s 42 top 10 hits such as “He Ain’t Worth Missing,” “Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American),” and “Should’ve Been A Cowboy,” which celebrated its 31st anniversary this week.

This Marks His Fifth Time Topping The All-Genre Chart

Its resurgence on the chart marks Keith’s fifth chart-topper on the all-genre chart, and first since his 15th studio album released in 2010, Bullets In The Gun. Other Toby Keith albums that landed in the No. 1 spot include Big Dog Daddy (2007), Shock’N Y’all (2003) and Unleashed (2002). During his lifetime, he notched a total of 14 top 10-charting albums. 

With 35 Biggest Hits taking over the top spot on the charts, Morgan Wallen’s massive One Thing at Time album has been bumped down to No. 2. This marks the first time in over nine years that a country album has replaced another country album in at No. 1 on the all-genre chart. 

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Additionally, 35 Biggest Hits is the first collection of hits to reach No. 1 since BTS’ Proof dubbed at No. 1 on the June 25, 2002 chart. The last album of its kind to hit No. 1 posthumously was Prince’s The Very Best Of, which topped the chart on May 7, 2016, following his death on April 21 of that year, according to Billboard. 

Keith Passed Away On February 5, 2024

On the evening of Monday, February 5, Keith passed away at the age of 62 years old, following a more than two-year-long battle with stomach cancer. 

Toby Keith’s death was announced via his official Facebook page in the early morning of Tuesday, February 6, just hours after his passing.  

The statement reads: “Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5, surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”

Keith was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2021, however, he did not reveal his diagnosis to fans until the summer of 2022. At this point, he canceled all concerts and allowed himself time to focus on his treatments. 

Within the last year, he since returned to the stage for several special occasions including the People’s Choice Country Awards last fall when he received the Country Icon Award. During the show he sang an emotional rendition of “Don’t Let The Old Man In,” live on stage. This performance went viral and prompted a second chance for the song at country radio.

His death also comes just weeks after he took the stage in Las Vegas for what became his final three concerts. 

A Country Music Icon

With 32 No.1 singles and 40 million albums sold, Toby Keith is regarded as one of country music’s biggest hitmakers. He wrote a chart-topping hit every year for 20 consecutive years, including “How Do You Like Me Now?!,” “Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American),” “I Love This Bar,” “Beer For My Horses,” and “As Good As I Once Was.”

Toby Keith; Photo by: Allen Clark/NBC
Toby Keith; Photo by: Allen Clark/NBC

The Oklahoma native is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (having already been inducted into the all-genre Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015), and was honored with the Academy of Country Music’s prestigious Merle Haggard Spirit Award.

Throughout his career, Keith received the BMI Icon Award as well as the BMI Country Songwriter of the Year award three times, and his hit single “As Good As I Once Was” was awarded BMI’s Country Song of the Year in 2006.

His music has garnered more than 10 billion streams and 100 million terrestrial radio spins to date.

Toby Keith; Photo Courtesy Suzanne Cordeiro
Toby Keith; Photo Courtesy Suzanne Cordeiro

Keith is also known for his philanthropic efforts that have spanned locally, nationally, and abroad. His annual golf classics fund the Toby Keith Foundation and OK Kids Korral, a cost-free home for families of children dealing with critical illnesses, and his 11 USO tours have enhanced the lives of nearly 256,000 troops and military families. 

In 2014, he was given the Spirit of the USO Award for his work with the organization, which has so far included 11 tours and more than 285 events in over 18 countries. In an even more personal instance of giving back, he became the face of his hometown after it was ravaged by a tornado, shouldering the cleanup, and headlining the 2013 OK Twister Relief Concert.

Toby is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucus, as well as his children, Krystal, Shelley, and Stelen.  

Private Funeral Service Announced

His family recently took to social media to share their plans to host a private funeral service for only family, his band and his crew sometime this month. Another memorial service is said to be announced soon. 

The post concluded by noting that “In lieu of flowers, the family appreciates donations to the Toby Keith Foundation to support the OK Kids Korral.”

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.