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FLASHBACK ... MAY 20, 1989

Clint Makes A Killin'

Few debuts in country history have been as splashy and spectacular as Clint Black's. The black-hatted Texan with the boyish charm made instant history when his first single, "A Better Man," jumped to No. 1 in 1989. That made Clint the first male country singer since Freddy Fender in 1975 to hit the top with a debut song.

Clint's first album, Killin' Time, proved even hotter. Released May 20, 1989, the record eventually produced four No. 1 hits -- "A Better Man," "Nobody's Home," "Walkin' Away" and the title tune. No artist in the history of country music had ever achieved such a high-water mark with a debut album (though Brooks & Dunn would tie Clint's mark two years later). Killin' Time reached the top spot on the album charts in September of that year -- and stayed there for a whopping 31 weeks.

With typical humility, Clint downplayed his overnight success. He simply summed up, "That was the hardest year of my life. It was pure exhaustion, but it was also more than I could ever have imagined."