“Who’s That Man”
Written by Toby Keith
#1 (1 week)
October 8, 1994
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
September 30, 1994
Toby Keith spins a corny joke into a country masterpiece.
The Road to No .1
After “Wish I Didn’t Know Now” topped the chart, Keith followed it with the lead single from his second studio album, Boomtown.
The No. 1
Toby Keith started writing “Who’s That Man” as a riff on the old joke about what you get when you play a country song backwards: you get your dog back, your wife back, your house back…
During the writing process, he realized there was an actual song here, and he leaned into his deepest wells of sincerity and empathy to write it.
This is as heartbreaking a song as I’ve ever heard about divorce from the man’s perspective, and it’s every bit the peer of “I Don’t Call Him Daddy” and “The Grand Tour.” You get the full package of brilliant songwriting delivered by a powerful singer when Keith is at the top of his game.
It’s 28 years later, and I still can’t get over this line: “Those kids have been through hell…I hear they’ve adjusted well.”
The nineties was so overflowing with great singers that it was easy to miss that this was the work of a future Country Music Hall of Famer. When that induction inevitably happens, this will be one of them that got him there.
The Road From No. 1
“Upstairs Downtown” followed this hit, and it went top ten. “You Ain’t Much Fun” was up next, and it went top five. Keith returned to No. 1 with the lead single from his third album. We’ll cover it in 1995.
“Who’s That Man” gets an A.
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