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27 Years Ago: Clint Black Releases Debut Album, ‘Killin’ Time’

Clint Black Killin Time Cover Art
RCA Nashville

Twenty-seven years ago today (May 2, 1989), it’s doubtful that Clint Black knew how significant a day it would be for his career. It was on this day that Black’s debut album, Killin’ Time, was released, kick-starting one of the most successful country music careers of his generation.

The Texas native wrote or co-wrote all 10 songs on the project, which sold more than 3 million copies. The record spawned five No. 1 singles, including Black’s debut single, “A Better Man,” and the disc’s title track. The third single released from the album, “Nobody’s Home,” stayed at the top of the charts for three weeks, while the fourth single, “Walkin’ Away,” held reign in the top spot for two weeks.

Black’s impact on country music has been swift and lasting, but he isn’t the only artist who debuted in 1989 and has left an indelible mark: That year was also when Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Travis Tritt first hit the airwaves. Dubbed the “Class of ’89,” these artists led the way for a new era of country music.

“I’m proud of my contribution,” Black says of the distinction, “and I feel like I gave it my best.”

Black followed up Killin’ Time with his sophomore record, Put Yourself in My Shoes, which was released the following year. That album also sold more than 3 million copies, and it gave the hitmaker two more No. 1 singles and two more Top 10 songs.

Throughout his career, the singer-songwriter has sold more than 20 million albums all over the world and had over a dozen No. 1 singles. Black’s first six albums sold at least one million copies each, as did his 1995 Greatest Hits record. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1991, only two years after he made his debut on the famous stage, and says it’s still one of his favorite places to perform.

“Walking out into the halls and getting your picture taken and people wanting autographs,” he says. “You see all the people that you know and you also see fans. It’s that crazy feeling you get — there’s excitement backstage at the Opry.”

The husband of actress Lisa Hartman Black left his longtime label, RCA Records, after his 1999 album, D’Electrified, was released. He started his own label, Equity Records, in 2003, which helped launch the careers of Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Little Big Town, among others. The label closed in 2008.

All of Black’s albums are available for download on iTunes.

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