Rascal Flatts is an American country music band founded in Columbus, Ohio. Since its inception, Rascal Flatts has been composed of three members: Gary LeVox (lead vocals), Jay DeMarcus (bass guitar, keyboards, vocals), and Joe Don Rooney (lead guitar, vocals). DeMarcus and LeVox are also second cousins.
Rascal Flatts has released six studio albums and a greatest hits album, all on Lyric Street Records. Their first two albums, 2000's Rascal Flatts and 2002's Melt, have been certified 2?? Multi-Platinum and 3?? Multi-Platinum, respectively, in the United States, while 2004's Feels Like Today and 2006's Me and My Gang have received 5?? Multi-Platinum and 5?? Multi-Platinum certifications respectively. 2007's Still Feels Good, their most recent album, is certified 2?? Multi-Platinum. Their new album, Unstoppable, was released on April 7, 2009.
They have also released twenty-four singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including ten Number Ones. A cover of Tom Cochrane's "Life Is a Highway", from the soundtrack to the 2006 film Cars, also entered the country music charts from unsolicited airplay. Their longest-lasting Number One is "Bless the Broken Road" (late 2004-early 2005) at five weeks, while their biggest crossover single is "What Hurts the Most", which topped both the country and Adult Contemporary charts in 2006, and was a Top Ten pop hit. In 2008 they became one of the best paid singers in the world.
We're not just business partners, we are good friends. That's why we have had the longevity we have.
???Joe Don Rooney, 2006, People magazine
Rascal Flatts were founded near Columbus, Ohio. Gary Levox and Jay DeMarcus are second cousins from a musical family. DeMarcus's brother-in-law, James Otto, is also a country music artist. DeMarcus moved to Nashville in 1992, earning his first record deal as part of a Christian group called East to West. In 1997, he finally convinced LeVox to leave behind his job with the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and follow his musical dreams as well.
DeMarcus soon joined Chely Wright's band, and there he met Joe Don Rooney. DeMarcus and LeVox were working in a Printer's Alley nightclub, and when their part-time guitarist could not make it one night, DeMarcus invited Rooney to sit in. Eventually, they took the name Rascal Flatts from a famous landmark in Oklahoma and began performing together, getting signed to Lyric Street Records in late 1999.
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Grammy awards, other notable achievements.
In early 2000, the group made their debut with their single "Prayin' for Daylight". This song, which reached #3 on the Billboard country charts, was the first of four consecutive Top Ten hits from their self-titled debut, which was issued in early 2000 on Lyric Street. Following "Prayin' for Daylight" were "This Everyday Love", "While You Loved Me" and "I'm Movin' On", which respectively peaked at #9, #7, and #4 on the country charts. "I'm Movin' On" was awarded Song of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 2002.
Melt was the title of their second album, released in 2002. Unlike their previous album, Rascal Flatts co-produced Melt. Its first single, "These Days", also became their first Number One hit. This song was followed by "Love You Out Loud" at #3, "I Melt" at #2, and "Mayberry", their second Number One. "I Melt" featured a controversial music video which featured partial nudity, and as a result, the video was banned from the Great American Country network.
Feels Like Today
Rascal Flatts' third album was entitled Feels Like Today, and it was released in late 2004. Although its title track quickly fell from a peak position of #9, its follow-up, "Bless the Broken Road", became their biggest Number One, with a five-week run at the top of the country charts. This song had previously been recorded by Marcus Hummon (who co-wrote it with Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), and had previously been a #42 single in 1998 for Melodie Crittenden. "Bless the Broken Road" also brought the group to the Adult Contemporary charts for the first time, peaking at #20 there.
Following "Bless the Broken Road" was their fourth Number One hit, "Fast Cars and Freedom". While this song was climbing the charts, a hidden track from Feels Like Today, entitled "Skin", also received enough airplay to chart in the Top 40. Due to the success of "Skin" on the charts, it was then officially added to the album's track listing on later presses, and was shipped to radio under the title "Skin (Sarabeth)". This song went on to peak at #2 in late 2005, and was the final single from the album.
Me and My Gang
Rascal Flatts' thirteenth chart entry, "What Hurts the Most", was released in December 2005. This song, which had previously been recorded by Mark Wills in 2003, was the first single from their fourth album, 2006's Me and My Gang. This album also brought a new producer in Dann Huff. "What Hurts the Most" was a crossover hit, not only spending four weeks at the top of the country charts, but also topping the Adult Contemporary charts, and reaching Top Ten on the Billboard Hot 100. This song was followed by the album's title track at #6, and then two more Number One country hits in "My Wish" and "Stand".
Also in 2006, the group charted in the Top Ten on the Billboard Hot 100 with a cover of "Life Is a Highway", which they recorded for the Pixar film Cars. Although "Life Is a Highway" was not released to country radio, several country stations began playing the song, causing it to chart as high as #18 on the country charts while "My Wish" was also climbing. As a result of its chart success, "Life Is a Highway" was added to later presses of Me and My Gang as a bonus track.
A special version of the cd was also sold in Target stores. While this version did not include "Life Is a Highway", it did contain three previously unreleased live bonus tracks, including "Love You Out Loud", "Mayberry", and "These Days".
Me and My Gang had the highest US debut of 2006, with 722,000 units in April. The album spent 15 weeks as the number one album on the Billboard Country Chart and was the second-best selling album of 2006 (behind High School Musical) with sales totaling 3.5 million by year's end. The album's success led the band to take the spot of top-selling artist for all genres of music, which hadn't been accomplished in 15 years by a country group.
Still Feels Good
Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts performed together at the 2007 Grammy Awards ceremony. Later the same year, the group released the single "Take Me There", a song which Kenny Chesney co-wrote and had initially planned to record himself. A Number One hit by September of that year, this was the first single from their album Still Feels Good. It was followed by "Winner at a Losing Game" and the ballad "Every Day", both of which peaked at #2. The fourth single from Still Feels Good, entitled "Bob That Head", became their first official country release to miss the Top Ten, when it peaked at #15. The album's fifth and final single, "Here", was released in August 2008 and became their ninth Number One hit on the chart week of January 3, 2009.
Greatest Hits Volume 1
Rascal Flatts released their first Greatest Hits CD, Greatest Hits Volume 1 on October 28, 2008. The album contains 13 of their biggest songs, starting with "Prayin' for Daylight" and going through "Life Is a Highway". The limited edition of the album contains a second disc with three Christmas songs: "White Christmas", "Jingle Bell Rock", and "I'll Be Home for Christmas".
Rascal Flatts released the first single "Here Comes Goodbye" from their album, Unstoppable, to radio on January 20, and the album was released on April 7, 2009. The song was co-written by American Idol season 6 finalist Chris Sligh. The second single, "Summer Nights", co-written by Gary LeVox, was released in early May 2009 debuting at #57 and topped out at #2 on the country charts. The group performed Summer Nights at the CMT Awards, Oprah's Kickoff Party, and the finale of America's Got Talent.
A special release version of their album, Unstoppable, is available at JCPenney stores nationwide. It features a special release song entitled "American Living" only available on the albums sold at JCPenney stores. JCPenney is an official sponsor of Rascal Flatts' Unstoppable American Living Tour in an two-year partnership and $1 of every CD sold at JCPenney will be donated to the JCPenney Afterschool Fund.
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Critical reception from reviewers.
The group has an uncharacteristically young demographic (18-25) for country music (where the average listener is 44 years old). In September 2007, Weekly Reader Research (Weekly Reader being a children's general-interest magazine) conducted a poll of more than 2,000 children and Rascal Flatts ranked as the sixth-most-popular act among ages 10???12.
Rascal Flatts has enjoyed financial success as touring artists. Nielsen reported that the band were the top selling artist in 2006: "Rascal Flatts was the biggest selling artist, with nearly 5 million physical album sales and nearly 4 million digital track sales." They had their first headlining tour beginning in Fall 2002, and by 2005 they were among the top 25 tours of the year, grossing $26.3 million in 777,384 tickets sold, according to Billboard Boxscore. Their follow-up tour in 2006 grossed $46.2 million, drawing more than a million people to 79 shows. Rascal Flatts has the third-highest US country tour in 2007, grossing $34 million from 588,009 tickets sold. The group grossed $16.8 million dollars from their summer tour alone.
Rascal Flatts's shows are heavy on special effects, including videos, pyrotechnics and laser lights.
I Melt Tour ??? 2002???2003
Here's to You Tour ??? 2004???2005
Me & My Gang Tour ??? 2006???2007
Still Feels Good Tour ??? 2007???2008
Bob That Head Tour ??? 2008???2009
American Living Unstoppable Tour ??? 2009???2010
Contributions for other artists
Rascal Flatts' members have also contributed to the work of other artists. LeVox, along with Jason Sellers and Wendell Mobley, co-wrote Phil Stacey's 2008 debut single "If You Didn't Love Me". DeMarcus has co-produced albums for several artists, including Chely Wright's 2002 album Never Love You Enough as well as Chicago's Chicago XXX. James Otto's 2008 album Sunset Man was co-produced by DeMarcus and John Rich of Big & Rich. They have also contributed portions of the Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack, with acoustic versions of "Bless the Broken Road" and "Backwards".