KENNY'S BIG YEAR
After a slow-building decade, all dreams came true for Kenny Chesney in 2004. With a record-shattering tour, blistering-hot album sales and enough awards to break the mantel, it was one thing after another during this superstar's blockbuster year.
As the new year dawns, Kenny and tourmate Keith Urban share an acoustic jam session at a Caribbean bar. At the end of the month, Kenny and rap-rock pal Uncle Kracker head to South Florida to shoot their "When the Sun Goes Down" video.
Kenny's When the Sun Goes Down album sells a staggering 550,581 copies during its first week in stores, a career best.
Kenny's Guitars, Tiki Bars & a Whole Lotta Love Tour kicks off, breaking George Strait's attendance record at Houston's annual Livestock Show & Rodeo with sales of 70,668. "There's a lot of energy out there, I can tell you that!" he says. "No matter where we go, you can feel it." At the end of the month, the Kenny/Kracker duet "When the Sun Goes Down" hits No. 1. Kenny's behind-the-scenes tour documentary Road Case: The Movie screens in theaters in 40 cities in advance of a DVD release.
A truck carrying Kenny's tour merchandise gets hit by a car, and goes up in flames - there are no serious injuries, but more than $1.5 million worth of merchandise is destroyed. Kenny takes Male Video and Hottest Video honors at the CMT Flame Worthy Awards. His No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem album is certified quadruple platinum.
Kenny performs at the Academy of Country Music Awards, but wins nothing.
Kenny cancels a June 6 Texas show and a planned surprise appearance at Nashville's CMA Music Festival due to laryngitis. He recovers in time to become the first country star to sell more than $1 million worth of tickets at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash. Uncle Kracker's Seventy Two & Sunny album is released, featuring Kenny's vocals on the cut "Last Night Again."
The video for Jimmy Buffett's remake of Hank Williams' "Hey Good Lookin' " debuts, featuring guest shots from George Strait, Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, Clint Black - and Kenny. His own "I Go Back" peaks at No. 2.
As Kenny's record-breaking summer road trip rolls on, he learns that he has been nominated for a total of five CMA Awards.
Kenny wraps up his Guitars, Tiki Bars & a Whole Lotta Love Tour after selling nearly 1.2 million tickets - second only to Prince - and grossing $64 million over seven months! "It's hard to get your head around," he admits. Kenny tapes an appearance on Oprah Winfrey's talk show at the world's biggest baby shower, entertaining 640 mothers- to-be whose husbands are soldiers stationed overseas. When the Sun Goes Down goes triple platinum.
Kenny turns up for the Nashville-area premiere of his friend Tim McGraw's hit movie Friday Night Lights. Kenny himself announces that he'll release an intimate, acoustic-flavored new album called Be As You Are: Songs From an Old Blue Chair in January.
Kenny takes Entertainer and Album of the Year at the CMA Awards, his first time winning anything at the show - but his acceptance speech for Entertainer is cut off prematurely, enraging fans. Less than a week later, he takes Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards. He announces that his 2005 tour, dubbed Somewhere in the Sun, will feature Gretchen Wilson, Uncle Kracker and Pat Green. "The Woman With You" goes Top 10, the Road Case video goes platinum, and the When the Sun Goes Down video reaches double platinum. "I get to lead an amazing, blessed life," he says. "I almost can't believe it, but I'm sure glad that I do."