Beer for My Horses

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"Beer for My Horses"
Beer for my horses single cover.png
Single by Toby Keith featuring Willie Nelson
from the album Unleashed
B-side "Rock You Baby"
Released April 7, 2003
  • CD single
  • 7"
Recorded 2002
Genre Country
Length 3:30
Label DreamWorks Records 450785
Songwriter(s) Scotty Emerick
Toby Keith
Producer(s) James Stroud
Toby Keith
Toby Keith singles chronology
"Rock You Baby"
"Beer for My Horses"
"I Love This Bar"
Willie Nelson singles chronology
"Mendocino County Line"
"Beer for My Horses"
"Please Come Home for Christmas"

"Beer for My Horses" is a song recorded by American country music artists Toby Keith and Willie Nelson. It was written by Keith and Scotty Emerick for Keith's seventh studio album, Unleashed. The song was released as the album's fourth and final single on April 7, 2003.

"Beer for My Horses" received mixed reviews from music critics. The single reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Keith's highest charting song of his career at the time. The song also peaked at #1 for six weeks in the US Billboard Hot Country Songs (one of two songs to stay that long at #1 for Toby Keith). Becoming Keith's 11th #1 hit and Nelson's 23rd and his first since "Nothing I Can Do About It Now" in 1989. "Beer for My Horses" was certified Platinum once by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The accompanying music video was directed by Michael Salomon and premiered on April 9, 2003.[1]

"Beer for My Horses" also made Willie Nelson the oldest artist to top the country charts at age 70.

The phrase, "Whisky for me beer for my horse" is said in the 1975 film, Bite the Bullet, by Jan Michael Vincent.


The song tells of a group of men who talk about how one used to catch criminals several generations ago, including an apparent description of a lynching.

Music video

The music video for the song features Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, and Corin Nemec, as detectives hunting a serial killer, played by Gregg Gilmore. The detectives eventually convince Nemec to dress up as a woman to lure the serial killer and they end up capturing him. The video, directed by Michael Salomon, was shot in downtown Los Angeles and at the nearby Golden Oak Ranch, in Newhall, California. It is also the first video in which Keith does not actually sing. On March 4, 2003, the video was nominated for Video of the Year for the Academy of Country Music Awards.

In popular culture

The 2008 film Beer for My Horses was based on the song, which was featured in the film. The film starred Keith and Nelson, among others. The song was also used in an episode of Lethal Weapon in 2016.[2] It won the award for Video of the Year in May later that year.[3]

Critical reception

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic found the song to be "absurdly anthemic".[4]

Some other critics, including sociologist Brandon Leap, have found problems with a song that "[reminisces] about when public lynchings were commonplace."[5]

Chart and sales performance

"Beer for My Horses" entered the Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts dated for the week ending August 3, 2002, spending three weeks on the charts as an album cut and peaking at #54.[6] It re-entered at #60 on the chart dated February 1, 2003. On the Billboard Hot 100, it ended up peaking at #22. Along with "Who's Your Daddy?", it was tied for his highest peaking song on the chart until "Red Solo Cup" beat it out in 2012 by peaking at #15. The song reached over a million in sales in April 2014.[7] As of January 2017, the song has sold 1,178,000 copies in the United States.[8]

Charts and certifications

Chart (2003) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[9] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 22

Year-end charts

Chart (2003) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[11] 2


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[12] Platinum 1,178,000[8]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


A film adaptation of the song entered production in mid-2008,[13] and was released on August 8, 2008.[14]

The song is available as downloadable content for the game Rock Band.


  1. ^ "CMT : Music Video : Beer for My Horses : Toby Keith". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  2. ^ "38th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards Nominees | Billboard". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Unleashed review". Allmusic. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  5. ^ Jacobs, Tom (May 7, 2019). "COUNTRY HITS INCREASINGLY OBJECTIFY WOMEN AND GLORIFY WHITENESS". Pacific Standard. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  6. ^ Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510.
  7. ^ Grein, Paul (April 16, 2014). "Chart Watch: "Happy" tops 4M". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!.
  8. ^ a b Bjorke, Matt (January 24, 2017). "Top 30 Digital Singles Sales Report: January 24, 2017". Roughstock.
  9. ^ "Toby Keith Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  10. ^ "Toby Keith Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  11. ^ "Best of 2003: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2003. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
  12. ^ "American single certifications – Toby Keith – Beer for My Horses". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 15, 2013. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  13. ^ "Toby Keith stars in "Beer for My Horses" movie". September 9, 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
  14. ^
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