Joe Diffie (born Joe Logan Diffie, , 1958, in Tulsa, Oklahoma) is an American country music singer-songwriter known for his ballads and novelty songs, in a manner similar to George Jones. Starting with Diffie's debut single "Home", he has charted seventeen Top 10 hits (five of which, counting "Home", reached Number One) on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts. He has also recorded nine studio albums (two of which have been certified Platinum by the RIAA), in addition to a Greatest Hits package, a Christmas album, and a live album.
Joe Diffie was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1958 to a musical family. His first musical performance came at age four, when he performed in his aunt's country music band. In high school, Diffie played in a rock band; after graduating high school, he moved on to a gospel music quartet, followed by a bluegrass band in which he played while attending Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. He later went on to work at a foundry, meanwhile working on his songwriting skills as well. Diffie has been married twice, once to Janise Parker with whom he has a daughter named Kara, they divorced in 1986. Diffie is currently married to Debbie Jones, who is the mother of his son Drew Tyler.
Diffie's first cut as a songwriter came when Hank Thompson recorded the song "Love on the Rocks". In 1986, Diffie moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he took a job at the Gibson Guitar Corporation, also working as a songwriter and demo singer. In 1989, Holly Dunn recorded "There Goes My Heart Again", a song which Diffie co-wrote and sang backup vocals on; the single peaked at #4 on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts.
In addition to demo singing, Diffie recorded his own material in his spare time, using a friend's studio to do so. He later sent copies of his own material to Epic Records, who signed him to a record deal in 1990, with his debut album A Thousand Winding Roads being released at the end of that year. The album's lead-off single, "Home", reached Number One on the country charts, becoming the first ever debut single in history to top the country music charts of Billboard, Radio & Records and Gavin Report (the three major chart publications at the time). The album's third single, "If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)", also reached Number One; in addition, the singles "If You Want Me To" and "New Way (To Light Up an Old Flame)" (released second and fourth, respectively) both peaked at #2.
Diffie's second album, titled Regular Joe, was released in 1992. Certified Gold by the RIAA, it produced consecutive Top 5 hits in "Is It Cold In Here" and "Ships That Don't Come In". However, the album's third and fourth singles were much less successful, with the fourth single failing to reach Top 40. Also in 1992, Diffie charted a duet with Mary Chapin Carpenter, titled "Not Too Much to Ask". Released on Carpenter's album Come On Come On, the duet was nominated for a Grammy for Best Vocal Collaboration.
Joe's third album, released in 1993, Honky Tonk Attitude became Diffie's first Platinum-selling album. Its title track reached Top 5, as did the follow-up singles "Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)" and "John Deere Green", the latter even crossing over to the Billboard Hot 100. Also in 1993, Diffie was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.
Third Rock from the Sun, Diffie's fourth album, continued the trend towards novelty songs, with its title track and "Pickup Man" becoming consecutive Number One singles. (The latter was re-recorded in 2005 for use in television commercials for the restaurant chain Applebee's.) In addition, Third Rock from the Sun became Diffie's second straight Platinum-selling album. In 1995, Diffie recorded an album of Christmas music, titled Mr. Christmas, in addition to his fifth studio album, Life's So Funny. The former produced a minor holiday hit in "LeRoy the Redneck Reindeer", while the latter produced Diffie's fifth and final Number One single in "Bigger Than the Beatles". Although Life's So Funny was also certified Gold, additional singles from it peaked no higher than #23.
Twice Upon a Time, Diffie's sixth album, was released in 1996. It was considered to be a return to his earlier, more serious material. Nonetheless, Diffie's success was waning; although Twice Upon a Time produced three singles, none reached higher than #25, and one single failed to chart at all. In 1998, Epic Records released Diffie's Greatest Hits package, which featured two new singles. Of those two singles, "Texas Size Heartache" reached Top 5, while "Poor Me" missed Top 40. Diffie's final album for Epic Records, titled A Night to Remember, was released a year later. Its title track was Diffie's biggest crossover, reaching Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Top 10 on the country charts. The album also produced another Top 10 country hit in "It's Always Somethin'".
In 2000, Diffie married the former Theresa Crump at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. It was Diffie's third marriage. He has four children from previous relationships. A year later, he was transferred from Epic Records to Monument Records (both labels being divisions of Sony Music Entertainment). His lone album for Monument, titled In Another World, was released that year, with its title track peaking at #10 on the country charts. The album's second single, "This Pretender" (co-written by Gary LeVox, lead singer of Rascal Flatts), failed to make Top 40, and Diffie left Monument soon afterward.
After leaving Monument, Diffie signed to Broken Bow Records, a newly-formed independent record label, in 2003. His only album for Broken Bow, titled Tougher Than Nails, produced a Top 20 hit in its title track, and another minor hit in "If I Could Only Bring You Back"; however, Diffie and Broken Bow parted ways soon afterward. Although he has not recorded any singles since "If I Could Only Bring You Back", his song "My Give a Damn's Busted" (which Diffie co-wrote and originally recorded on the album In Another World), was recorded by Jo Dee Messina on her album Delicious Surprise. Released as a single in early 2005, Messina's version of the song went on to spend two weeks at Number One on the Billboard country charts.
In early 2008 Joe Diffie collaborated with Peter Dula, an artist from Slovakia, and their duet "Long Gone Loner" reaching #1 in Europe became a huge comeback for Joe Diffie. Also in 2008, Diffie started releasing the Basement Tapes, early demo recordings from his safe and selling them on his website. A new studio album is currently in the works.