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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 April, 2003, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
'Bombing' song wins awards
Toby Keith
Toby Keith's stance helped his album hit number one in the US
Country singer Toby Keith has won three awards for his controversial post-11 September track Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American).

At Monday's Country Music Television's 2003 Flameworthy Video Music Awards, Keith won video of the year, cocky video and best male video.

The lyrics, aimed at Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, include the lines: "And you'll be sorry that you messed with/The U S of A/'Cause we'll put a boot in your ass/It's the American way."

The song was written in support of the US bombing campaign in Afghanistan after the terror attacks of September 11 2001.

Keith told Monday's audience: "I dedicate this great award to Mr Rumsfeld and Tommy Franks, and all the people over there (in Iraq) putting it down for us tonight."

The song helped Keith's Unleashed album hit the top of the US album chart in August 2002, selling more than 338,000 copies in its first week.

But Keith was also taken off the bill for a 4 July television concert last year because the ABC television network reportedly objected to the song's lyrics.

Keith told reporters after the ceremony that there was room for dissent and opposing views about the war in country music "as long as we give every artist the right to paint his own picture".

Dixie Chicks
Singer Natalie Maines, centre, has apologised for anti-Bush remarks
"I don't bang the war drum," he said. "I just don't trust the next celebrity who thinks they know more about it than I do."

He wrote the song in memory of his father, who served in the military, he said.

"My Dad was a GI... I wanted [soldiers] to know that any American that supported this song was behind them," he said.

Patriotism was a recurring theme during the awards show. Darryl Worley performed his hit Have You Forgotten while singer Chris Cagle wished the troops "Godspeed" and a safe return home.

But comedian Brett Butler drew some boos when she mentioned the Dixie Chicks, a major US country act who last month criticised US President George Bush for his involvement in the war.

The band's current single was dropped from some radio stations playlists after the remarks, and they also saw a drop in sales.

The winners of the Country Music TV awards were chosen by the public, with about three million fans voting on the internet.

Listen to a clip of Toby Keith's
Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue

'Bombing' album tops US chart
01 Aug 02  |  Entertainment
Dixies dropped over Bush remark
20 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
US musicians rally round the flag
02 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Patriotic album strikes a chord
26 Oct 01  |  Entertainment
Stars and stripes stir country awards
23 May 02  |  Entertainment
Ashcroft rallies troops with song
04 Mar 02  |  Americas

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