Born in Pensacola, Florida but raised in South Carolina, Tippin worked various odd blue-collar jobs including pilot and pipe fitter before focusing mainly on music. He got his break when he won a songwriting competition sponsored by The Nashville Network, which led to co-writing credits for songs by Charley Pride, Mark Collie, and David Ball.
In 1991, he had his breakthrough on RCA Records with "You've Got to Stand for Something", whose patriotic themes resonated in the wake of the Gulf War. While the next two singles performed poorly, he got back on track with his 1992 smash "There Ain't Nothin' Wrong with the Radio", his first #1 hit. A string of hits ensued throughout 1996 (including a second #1 with 1995's "That's as Close as I'll Get to Loving You"), after which he left RCA with a Greatest Hits Album.
The second leg of his career began in 1998 on the then-newly established Lyric Street Records, where he would have additional hits with "For You I Will", "Kiss This" (his third and final #1), and "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly". Although the hits dried up after the latter, he has continued to record and tour well into the 21st century.
Tippin's music is defined by his distinctly nasal and twangy voice, along with his strong themes of patriotism and praise for the working class tempered by the occasional novelty. He is also known for his imposing physique, owing to his love of bodybuilding.
- You've Got to Stand for Something (1991)
- Read Between the Lines (1992)
- Call of the Wild (1993)
- Lookin' Back at Myself (1994)
- Tool Box (1995)
- Greatest Hits... and Then Some (1997)
- What This Country Needs (1998)
- People Like Us (2000)
- A December to Remember (2001)
- Stars & Stripes (2002)
- Now & Then (2007)
- In Overdrive (2009)
- All in the Same Boat (featuring Joe Diffie and Sammy Kershaw) (2013)
- Aaron Tippin 25 (2015)
Tropes present in his work:
- The Alleged Car: The subject of "There Ain't Nothin' Wrong with the Radio" is a piece of junk car that the narrator only keeps around because the radio still works good.
- Be Yourself: "You've Got to Stand for Something":You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything
You've got to be your own man, not a puppet on a string
Never compromise what's right and uphold your family name
You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything
- Break Up Song: "Kiss This"
- Christmas Songs: A December to Remember charted a rendition of "Jingle Bell Rock".
- "Days of the Week" Song: "Come Friday" in a sense. There was an alternate version that replaced the title with "It's Friday", with the intent of playing that version during drive time on Friday afternoons.
- Dead Sparks: In "A Door", the narrator realizes that his relationship is fizzling out. He compares it to a wall being built between the two of them and suggests that they "build a door" by reaching out and communicating.
- Everything Is an Instrument: "Big Boy Toys", a track from People Like Us, features the sounds of rebar, a ratchet wrench, and a wire saw.
- Later-Installment Weirdness: His voice changed considerably around the release of Tool Box and he began recording more impassioned ballads while backing off on both the patriotism and the novelty (though neither left entirely, as "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly" and "Kiss This" respectively prove).
- Leaving You to Find Myself: "I'm Leaving":She said there's someone else
And I've kept it to myself
But I can't keep these feelings locked inside
I need to tell you this
It's one of your old friends
One you haven't talked to in a while
She said I'm leaving
And there's nothing you can do
I said I had a feeling you found somebody new
And I'll bet I can guess his name
But it's so hard to believe
'Cause she said you're not even close
It's someone you don't know
I'm leaving you for me
- Melismatic Vocals: Done with the word "blue" in the chorus to "My Blue Angel".
- Mocking Music: Occurs in "How's the Radio Know":How's the radio know she left
How's the radio know I did her wrong
Every record that DJ spins
Is a good-love-gone-bad song
How's the radio know I miss her
And I'd die to tell her so
Oh, how's the radio know
- The Power of Love: "Ten Pound Hammer" has the line "Love hit me like a ten-pound hammer".
- Sdrawkcab Name: His 2007 compilation Now & Then was released on his own label, Nippit Records (just his surname spelled backwards).
- Vocal Evolution: His voice started out much higher-pitched and nasal, but became considerably mellower around the release of Tool Box although it never completely lost its twang.