May 1: Tim McGraw is 44 today.

(Watch Tim sing "Don't Take the Girl" at end of this post.)

Tim McGraw had 11 consecutive albums debut at Number One on the Billboard albums charts. Twenty-one singles hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. He has won 3 Grammys, 14 Academy of Country Music awards, 11 Country Music Association (CMA) awards, 10 American Music Awards, and 3 People's Choice Awards.

His Soul2Soul II Tour with Faith Hill is the highest grossing tour in country music history, and one of the top five among all genres of music. He is married to country singer Faith Hill and is the son of former baseball player Tug McGraw.

McGraw has also acted in films, with supporting roles in The Blind Side (with Sandra Bullock), Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom, and Four Christmases (with Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon), and lead roles in Flicka in 2006 and Country Strong in 2010.

He was a minority owner of the Arena Football League's Nashville Kats. Taylor Swift's debut single, "Tim McGraw," refers to him and his song, "Can't Tell Me Nothin'."

McGraw was born Samuel Timothy McGraw in Delhi, Louisiana, a town in Richland Parish, to a waitress, Elizabeth "Betty" Ann D'Agostino, and Frank Edwin "Tug" McGraw Jr., who later became a relief pitcher for the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies.

In 1966, Tug was a pitcher for the Jacksonville Suns, and he lived in an apartment above Betty D'Agostino, who attended Terry Parker High School. The pair had a relationship, and when Betty became pregnant, her parents sent her to Louisiana to live with relatives and to have the baby.

McGraw grew up believing his stepfather, Horace Smith, was his birth father. From the time of his mother's marriage until the time he met his biological father, his last name was Smith. At age 11, McGraw discovered his birth certificate while searching his mother's closet to find pictures for a school project.

After his discovery, his mother revealed that his biological father was Tug McGraw, and took Tim to meet him for the first time. For seven years, Tug denied being Tim's father. Tim was 18 years old when Tug first realized how much Tim looked like him at that age, and he acknowledged paternity. They remained close until Tug's death in 2004.

As a child, Tim McGraw loved to play competitive sports, including baseball, even though he did not know his biological father was a professional athlete. He attended Northeast Louisiana University, now the University of Louisiana at Monroe, on a baseball scholarship. While in college, he learned to play guitar, and would frequently perform and sing for tips, although he claims that his roommates often hid the guitar because he was so bad.

He attended Florida Community College at Jacksonville for one term, and occasionally sat in with local bands. In 1989, on the day his hero Keith Whitley died, McGraw dropped out of college to head to Nashville and pursue a musical career.

McGraw came to the attention of Curb Records in 1990. After cutting a demo single, McGraw gave a copy to his father, Tug McGraw. A man who was friends with Curb Records executives heard the demo while driving with Tug McGraw one day and recommended that Curb contact the young singer. Several weeks later, they signed him to a recording contract.

Two years later, in 1992, he had his first minor hit with "Welcome to the Club" off his self-titled debut album. Although the album failed to make much of a dent on the charts, McGraw did have two other minor hits from it in 1993: "Memory Lane" and "Two Steppin Mind."

His second album, Not a Moment Too Soon, was much more successful, becoming the best-selling country album in 1994. The first single, "Indian Outlaw," caused considerable controversy, as critics argued that it presented Native Americans in a patronizing way. Some radio stations refused to play it, but the controversy helped spur sales, and the song became McGraw's first top-ten country single and reaching No. 15 on the pop chart.

The second single from the album, "Don't Take the Girl," became McGraw's first No. 1 country hit, and "helped cement his image as a ruggedly good-looking guy with a sensitive side."

The following year, the album's title track became a No. 1 country single, while "Down on the Farm" reached No. 2, and "Refried Dreams" reached the top 5. The album sold over 6 million copies, topping the Billboard 200 as well as the country album charts. On the strength of this success, McGraw won Academy of Country Music awards for Album of the Year and Top New Male Vocalist in 1994.

All I Want, released in 1995, continued his run of success, debuting at No. 1 on the country charts. The album sold over 2 million copies and reached the top 5 on the Billboard 200. "I Like It, I Love It" reached No. 1 on the country charts as the lead-off single, while "She Never Lets It Go to Her Heart" also went to No. 1 in 1996. "Can't Be Really Gone," "All I Want Is a Life," and "Maybe We Should Just Sleep on It" were all top 5 hits.

In 1996, McGraw headlined the most successful country tour of the year, The Spontaneous Combustion Tour, with Faith Hill as his supporting act.

Faith Hill broke off her engagement to her former producer Scott Hendricks so that she and Tim could start dating each other; they then married on October 6, 1996. The couple have since had three daughters: Gracie Katherine (born May 1997), Maggie Elizabeth (born August 1998), and Audrey Caroline (born December 2001).

(Continued below video and Amazon portals ...)

(Press album cover for direct link to the entire Amazon Website):

Number One Hits

As his success has grown, McGraw has become increasingly interested in giving back to the community. When McGraw first reached fame in 1994, he established his annual Swampstock event. It began as a charity softball game to raise money for hometown little league programs; the event now includes a celebrity softball game and a multi-artist concert that attracts over 11,000 fans per year.

The combined events have funded new Little League parks and equipment, and have established college scholarship funds for students in the northeast Louisiana area.



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