In the ’90s, everyone thought Dixie Chicks were going to shake up the country music genre. The Girl Power promoting, no bull taking, fun-loving country girl group took the world by storm with hits like the revenge fantasy “Goodbye Earl” and the poignant “Wide Open Spaces.”
But the trio’s success was cut dramatically short following an angry political statement that caused a decade away from the spotlight. Here’s what happened to cause a band on fire to go down in flames.
Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, then-president George W. Bush advocated for war between the United States of America and Iraq. The president labeled Saddam Hussein as a dangerous public enemy and accused Iraq of hiding weapons of mass destruction.
Bush announced his intention to deploy troops on the one year anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers, promising to protect American citizens from weapons of mass destruction. The invasion was carried out six months later, though no such WMDs were found.
While kicking off a world tour in 2002, Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines offered what she thought were comforting words to fans in the Shephard’s Bush Empire theater audience.
Before introducing a new song, Maines insisted the Dixie Chicks were “on the good side” with their audience, insisting the band was opposed to the Iraq war. The country singer expressed her embarrassment over the controversial war, claiming the band was “ashamed” that George W. Bush was also from the state of Texas.
The Dixie Chick’s criticism of former President George W. Bush caused an immediate uproar, with many people chastising the country band. Maines and her bandmates were accused of being anti-American and unpatriotic.
Many of the band’s detractors seemed to believe that Americans needed to band together to weather the storms of war, whether they agreed with the president or not. Some also indicated that disrespectful words toward the president were never OK, regardless of an individual’s personal or political views.
Over a decade later, the Dixie Chicks appear to be back. The band recently collaborated with megastar Taylor Swift on the song “Soon You’ll Get Better.” Despite the emotional origins of the song — Swift’s mother’s battle with cancer — reactions were very mixed.
Some fans were happy to see the Dixie Chicks back in action and were excited that Swift had ushered in their reemergence. But some people threw criticism at Swift insisting the singer should keep her politics to herself, echoing the venom spewed at the Dixie Chicks years ago.