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Music / Ty Herndon

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Boyd Tyrone "Ty" Herndon (1962-) is a Country Music singer from Meridian, Mississippi.

His musical career started in his teens when he played piano and sang gospel music. For a brief time in The '80s, he was the lead singer of the Tennessee River Boys, who later became Diamond Rio. After leaving them, he competed on Star Search.

Ty signed with Epic Records in 1995, releasing his debut album What Mattered Most that year. The lead single and title track set a new record for Billboard when 133 stations on its survey added the song all at once. The album itself went gold on the strength of that single, resulting in the largest first-day shipment of albums in the history of Epic Records' Nashville branch and the highest-charting debut album since Billy Ray Cyrus' Some Gave All three years prior.

Despite a couple hiccups along the way, including an arrest in July 1995 for public indecency and possession of methamphetamine. After he was sentenced to community service, the charges were dropped. The 1990s saw more hit albums for Ty, with hit singles off Living in a Moment and Big Hopes. From these albums came many radio hits such as "Living in a Moment", "Loved Too Much", "A Man Holdin' On (To a Woman Lettin' Go)", "It Must Be Love", and "Hands of a Working Man". However, his 1999 album Steam was unsuccessful. His life spiraled out of control after that: he divorced, gained weight, got mugged, got hit with a lawsuit for dental surgery, and went back into rehab. These events led to his fifth album never materializing and Epic ending his contract after a Greatest Hits Album.

After cleaning himself up, Herndon re-emeged in 2007 with the independently-released Right About Now, which was positively received by critics. He gained further media attention in 2014 when he came out as gay in an interview with People magazine. Herndon has continued to record independently and tour well into The New '10s and The New '20s.

His music is defined by his warm, earnest singing voice and country-pop production. His songs hit on common country themes of The '90s, such as relationships ("It Must Be Love"), family ("Hands of a Working Man"), and breakups ("What Mattered Most").


  • What Mattered Most (1995)
  • Living in a Moment (1996)
  • Big Hopes (1998)
  • Steam (1999)
  • This Is Ty Herndon: Greatest Hits (2002)
  • A Not So Silent Night (2003)
  • Right About Now (2007)
  • A Ty Herndon Christmas (2007)
  • Journey On (2010)
  • Lies I Told Myself (2013)
  • House on Fire (2016)
  • Got It Covered (2019)

Tropes present in his work:

  • Call-and-Response Song: An uncredited Sons of the Desert do this on "It Must Be Love":
    Sons of the Desert: Is she there in your dreams?
    Ty: I don't know, I can't sleep
    Sons: Is she breaking your heart?
    Ty: Yeah, but isn't it sweet?
    Sons: Does she know how you feel?
    Ty: It's right on the tip of my tongue
    Sons:Are you walking on air?
    Ty: Well, I'm sure feelin' tall
    Sons:Does she trouble your mind?
    Ty: It's no trouble at all
    All: Oh, I don't know but something tells me it must be love.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: After coming out as gay, Herndon re-recorded "What Mattered Most" with the pronouns changed from female to male (e.g. "I thought I knew the girl so well" became "I thought I knew the guy so well"), in order to indicate a relationship between two men.
  • Dual-Meaning Chorus: Although it doesn't have a chorus, every verse of "A Man Holdin' On (To a Woman Lettin' Go)" ends on the title phrase to show various cases where that phrase can apply (such as a man watching a woman lose her inhibitions skinny-dipping, a father walking his daughter down the aisle, and an elderly man holding onto his dying wife's hand).
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Thompson Square sing backing vocals on Right About Now, released three years prior to their first major single "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not".
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: "Heather's Wall" opens with a heartbeat sound played on synthesized drums.
  • Loving Details: "What Mattered Most" is about how he knows all the important life details about his lover's personal life, but "paid no attention" to actually showing love and affection before the relationship was ended.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: Played straight with "In Your Face" (G to A on the last chorus) and "Hands of a Working Man" (C to C♯ on the last chorus). Zig-zagged on "Heart Half Empty": The song starts in E♭, jumps down to B♭ for Stephanie Bentley's second verse and chorus, then goes up to F for the last chorus where they sing together.