Very few artists experience success straight out of the gate, but Clint Black managed it. On Jan. 23, 1990, his debut album, Killin' Time, was certified platinum for selling one million copies, less than a year after it was released.

Released via RCA Records on May 8, 1989, Killin' Time was chock-full of hit singles, beginning with its lead single, "A Better Man," which hit No. 1 on June 10 of that year. Black followed up that success with three more No. 1 hits from that career-launching album, including the title song, "Nobody's Home" and "Walkin' Away," and he scored another Top 5 with "Nothing's News."

Killin' Time also earned Album of the Year honors at the ACM Awards, while "A Better Man" won Single Record of the Year. The runaway success of the album earned Black a prime spot among what would come to be called country music's Class of 1989, which also included Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and more.

Even more unusual than the rapid success of Killin' Time was the fact that Black wrote or co-wrote every song on the album. He also used his band to track the recordings, instead of relying on Nashville session musicians. Over the course of subsequent albums, he would stick to his guns in making his records his way, despite resistance from Nashville labels who tried to steer him toward a more traditional approach of recording songs the label felt would be hits with a slate of studio musicians.

"I told those guys then, 'I wanna look around in 30 years and see the same faces.' And that doesn't always work out, but I did everything I could to keep doing what I was doing with the people I was doing it with," Black told Taste of Country in 2016. "Some of them didn't last, and some of them did. But my attitude was, I want to be an artist. I don't want to be a product."

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