Tough (Kellie Pickler song)

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Single by Kellie Pickler
from the album 100 Proof
Released June 13, 2011[1]
Format Airplay
Music download
Genre Country
Length 2:48
Label BNA
Songwriter(s) Leslie Satcher
Producer(s) Frank Liddell
Luke Wooten
Kellie Pickler singles chronology
"Makin' Me Fall in Love Again"
"100 Proof"
"Makin' Me Fall in Love Again"
"100 Proof"

"Tough" is a song written by Leslie Satcher, recorded by American country music artist Kellie Pickler. It was released on June 13, 2011 as the lead-off single to her third studio album, 100 Proof.


"Tough" is an up-tempo country song, featuring a neo-traditional production with fiddle, spoons, and steel guitar. The song's female narrator expresses that while she is just a regular girl ("I wanted lace / I wanted pearls / To be a princess like the other girls"), she was able to overcome challenges in her life by staying "tough" ("Tough / I ain’t never been nothing but tough / All my edges have always been rough").

In an interview with The Boot, Pickler raved about the song: "I've never been more excited about even just a single that we're releasing to radio. I think it's gonna be the best one that we've given radio. It's country. It's got a little bluegrass, it's got some fiddle, it's got some steel and it's got some spoons. It's got kind of a dirty hillbilly [sound], but it's still commercial enough, I think, for country radio."[2]


The song received generally positive reviews from country music critics. Billy Dukes of Taste of Country gave the song five stars, favorably referring to it as "a female anthem that over time even men won’t be able to resist cranking up on the radio." He also complimented the song's relatable lyrics and the new musical direction Pickler was going with.[3] Matt Bjorke of Roughstock gave the song four-and-a-half stars out of five, favorably comparing it to the songs on the 'shakin' side of Laura Bell Bundy's Achin' and Shakin'. He complimented the song's production and Pickler's "bluesy, soulful delivery."[4] Kevin John Coyne, reviewing the song for Country Universe, gave it a C rating, comparing it to Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman."[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video, directed by Roman White, premiered on CMT on September 28, 2011.[6] It shows a young Kellie Pickler playing with dolls on the living room floor when she witnesses her father being arrested. Later, the girl is shown in her teens visiting the prison where she has a conversation with her distraught father. Throughout the video, Pickler is shown performing the song while slinking down a hallway as well as walking down the street, and in the end Pickler herself embraces her father. The video is based on the real life relationship Pickler had with her father growing up.

Chart performance[edit]

"Tough" debuted at number 59 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for the week dated June 18, 2011,[7] and later reached a peak of number 30 on the chart in August 2011.

Chart (2011) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 30
US Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100[9] 19


  1. ^ "Future Releases for Country Radio Station". All Access. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ Donna Hughes (April 27, 2011). "Kellie Pickler Is Ready for Fans to Get 'Tough'". The Boot. Retrieved May 24, 2011. 
  3. ^ Billy Dukes (May 23, 2011). "Kellie Pickler, ‘Tough’ – Song Review". Taste of Country. Retrieved May 24, 2011. 
  4. ^ Matt Bjorke (May 23, 2011). "Kellie Picker - "Tough"". Roughstock. Retrieved September 28, 2011. 
  5. ^ Coyne, Kevin John (May 30, 2011). "5 Five-Second Single Reviews: Laura Alaina, Rodney Atkins, Sara Evans, Joe Nichols, Kellie Pickler". Country Universe. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Chart Highlights: Country, Latin Pop Songs & More". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Kellie Pickler – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Kellie Pickler. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  9. ^ "Bubbling Under Hot 100 Week of July 9, 2011". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 

External links[edit]