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History of success

Web posted Friday, May 17, 2002

By Don Rhodes
Staff Writer

Here's some trivia about Aaron Tippin: He has posed for muscle magazines, was a corporate pilot at 23, has a tattoo of South Carolina's palmetto tree on his right arm and has a Yankee colonel buried on his 300-acre farm in Tennessee.

Having Civil War officer John Hathaway buried on his property is about as exciting to Mr. Tippin as having hit records.

"He was a mean one," Mr. Tippin said in a telephone interview. "He killed 23 or 26 men in war and in peacetime."

"Tennessee was very different from Georgia or South Carolina during the Civil War," Mr. Tippin continued. "People from Tennessee were mostly just farmers. It was a very torn state.

  Aaron Tippin will headline the Hot Southern Nights concert Saturday at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
"After the war, the Union sympathizers moved to Doweltown, which is my post office box, on one side of a creek, and the Confederate sympathizers moved to Liberty, where I live, on the other side of the creek."

The singing history buff is the headliner for the Hot Southern Nights concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Lake Olmstead Stadium, 78 Milledge Road.

Mr. Tippin has had a long string of hits, including You've Got to Stand for Something, Working Man's Ph.D., I Wouldn't Have it Any Other Way, There Ain't Nothin' Wrong with the Radio, That's as Close as I Get to Lovin' You, I Got It Honest, Honky Tonk Superman and his most recent, Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly. It was recorded the weekend after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The song was composed by Mr. Tippin, Kenny Beard and Casey Beathard more than two years earlier but was never released on an album. It was released as a single, paired with Mr. Tippin's 1991 hit, You've Got To Stand For Something, with the net proceeds going to the Nashville chapter of the American Red Cross.

In recent years, Mr. Tippin has had a renewed success with Lyric Street Records. His fourth album for the label, I Believed, is set for release in late July.

It's going to be a quick trip in and out of Augusta for Mr. Tippin, whose schedule calls for him to be in Detroit tonight and Chesapeake, Va., Sunday.

He always enjoys coming here, from his pre-star days when he sang with the Darby Hill Band out of the Greenville, S.C., area. The band was booked a week at Smokey's Saloon on Washington Road in 1981, but Mr. Tippin said they only lasted two nights.

I Believed
"Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly"


The club management thought the Darby Hill Band was a hard-rock band, and the Darby Hill Band thought a club with the name of Smokey's Saloon surely must be a hard-core country place. Both were wrong.

Success as a solo singer came Mr. Tippin's way with his 1990 album, You've Got To Stand For Something, and its title song that became Mr. Tippin's career-making single.

Success also came his way July 15, 1995, when he married Thea Corontzos. They have had two boys together, Teddy and Thomas. Mr. Tippin also has a grown daughter, Charla, from a former marriage.

The couple met when he was being managed by Reba McEntire's Starstruck company and Thea was working as an office assistant.

Mr. Tippin said he is happy about the success of Miss McEntire's hit television series, Reba (9 p.m. Fridays on WB).

"She's a great actress. Not many people can do that - move out of one field and move into another. Elvis, Dolly, Reba and Kris (Kristofferson) have been a few who have made that change (from singing to film), but there haven't been many."

So why not Mr. Tippin? After all, he's got the looks, the unique personality, the fan base and the voice that could translate well onto small or big screens.

"I've got my hands full," he said with a laugh, "cutting records, chasing boys, killing turkeys and having fun on my farm. That's my limit. My plate is full. I used to want to do it all, but I don't anymore."

Don Rhodes has written about country music for 31 years. He can be reached at (706) 823-3214 or at,

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May 17, 2002

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