Originally published in the October 05, 1999 issue of Country Weekly magazine.
Hail the new king and queen — Tim McGraw and Faith Hill!
Country music has enjoyed a long procession of “royal couples” — high‑profile husband‑and‑wife teams that share both their music and their personal lives with fans. But no other princely pair has ever stirred up such a tidal wave of popularity.
George Jones and Tammy Wynette came close to this level of prominence in the 1970s. And Keith Whitley and Lorrie Morgan were well on their way to being country’s top supercouple when Keith died in 1989.
Yet Tim and Faith stand apart — achieving even more individually than united. As solo artists, they’re each at the top of the game — they’ve sold more albums, filled more concert halls and earned more awards than any other country music twosome has ever done at their peak.
Together Tim and Faith have captured the world’s heart. And it’s easy to see why. They’re talented, personable and wedding‑cake cute. They’re the kind of people we think we could talk to. When you add their two daughters, Gracie and Maggie, to the royal portrait, you’re in the realm of pure storybook perfection. Anyone who’s ever been in love — or wants to be — can see something there to adore.
Lulu Belle and Scotty Wiseman, who performed together on live radio from 1934 to 1958, were the first married couple to be dubbed “The Sweethearts of Country Music.” They were followed by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, Johnny Cash and June Carter, Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, Merle Haggard and Leona Williams, Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell, Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White. But none of those couples, even in their heydays, approached Tim and Faith’s level of success, fame or hoopla.
Another reason for our attraction to Tim and Faith is that we’ve had the opportunity to watch them develop from spunky, high‑spirited kids into mature, responsible adults. We’ve seen them grow from the raw excitement of “Indian Outlaw” and “Wild One” to the calm wisdom of “Just To See You Smile” and “The Secret Of Life.”
We encourage ourselves to believe that every love song they sing is for each other. (And maybe they all are.)
Media technology has also magnified the couple’s appeal. Until the early 1980s, country stars were seldom seen on national TV. Then came cable, music videos and the Internet to give us instant and around‑the‑clock access to our favorites. We don’t just listen to their music; now we virtually live with them.
Tim’s domination of the 1999 CMA Awards Show with seven nominations — more than any other artist — shows he’s on a roll. He already holds a total of 10 honors from the CMA and the ACM. Of his five albums, four have sold more than 11 million combined copies.
Faith, who is up for two CMA awards, currently has 12 ACM and CMA trophies in hand. Her three albums have sold over eight million. What’s more, as a duo, they’ve earned numerous awards for their powerful ballads “It’s Your Love” and “Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me.”
Industry insiders predict they’re both likely to walk away winners from this year’s CMA Awards on Sept. 22.
Relationships are fragile things, and public tastes are fickle. But as the century coasts to an end, King Tim and Queen Faith reign solidly. And that’s as it should be. We cheer them. We crown them. They are ours to celebrate.