Remember When the Chicks Turned Controversy Into Career Triumph?
The Dixie Chicks had been through a tremendous backlash by the time they released their Taking the Long Way album on May 23, 2006, but the beleaguered trio were about to experience a very public vindication.
After proving that they were still a viable commercial entity with a hit album and tour, the Chicks swept multiple categories at the 49th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 11, 2007, ultimately going home with five awards, including the night's biggest award, the all-genre Album of the Year, for their Taking the Long Way album.
The evening served as an especially important affirmation for the Dixie Chicks, who had been through a firestorm of controversy in the wake of comments lead singer Natalie Maines made about George W. Bush onstage in London during the runup to the U.S. invasion of Iraq after 9/11.
Maines told the crowd that the Chicks were "ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas," and as a result, country radio in America virtually banned the Chicks' music from the airwaves overnight, killing their then-current single, "Travelin' Soldier." Maines also engaged in a very public feud with Toby Keith, and the resulting negative publicity practically ground the group's career to a standstill.
The Dixie Chicks rebuilt their career with the release of Taking the Long Way in May of 2006. Instead of backing down, they doubled down on their position with the release of "Not Ready to Make Nice" as the lead single from the album, and while country radio did not embrace the new songs, they had found a new audience beyond that demographic segment. Taking the Long Way debuted at No. 1 across all genres, ultimately selling more than 2.5 million copies. The Chicks toured successfully following the album's release, but the Grammy Awards the following February really cemented their comeback.
The Dixie Chicks ended up taking home Album of the Year and Country Album of the Year for Taking the Long Way, while "Not Ready to Make Nice" won Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal.
The Dixie Chicks would go their separate ways after that for years before ultimately reuniting to tour successfully. The trio announced that they release a new studio album and tour extensively in 2020, but they postponed touring plans indefinitely in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
They released their new album, Gaslighter, in July of 2020, one month after officially dropping "Dixie" from their name and becoming the Chicks that June to distance themselves from the word's association with slavery.
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