The Dixie Chicks, the top-selling female group in the U.S., have dropped “dixie” from their name and will now be called The Chicks.
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The band's social media accounts and website were changed on Thursday to refer to the new name for the band, which is made up of Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines and Emily Strayer. The band also recognized that the name was already in use by a band in New Zealand.
“A sincere and heartfelt thank you goes out to ‘The Chicks’ of NZ for their gracious gesture in allowing us to share their name. We are honored to co-exist together in the world with these exceptionally talented sisters,” the band said in a statement.
The move follows a decision by country group Lady Antebellum to change to Lady A after acknowledging the word's association to slavery. Lady A received criticism with their name switch after a Black singer revealed she’d been performing as Lady A for years.
The Chicks, who are releasing their first new album in 14 years next month, also released a new video for their new song, “March March" that features videos and images from the recent Black Lives Matter rallies.
A statement on The Chicks' website said “We want to meet this moment.”
Formed in Dallas in 1989, the band featured four members – Maguire, Strayer, in addition to Robin Lynn Macy and Laura Lynch – and started off as a bluegrass group before transitioning into more of a country sound. By 1995, after three albums, Macy was out and Lynch was replaced by Maines, the current lead singer.
The first album with Maines, released in 1998, called “Wide Open Spaces,” was a huge hit for the band and its first commercial success. Three singles from the album – “Wide Open Spaces,” “You Were Mine” and the Mark Selby-Tia Sillers-penned “There’s Your Trouble” – topped Billboard’s country chart. The trio was nominated for three Grammy Awards at the 41st annual presentation ceremony, winning two -- Best Country Album. To date, it’s been certified 13-times Platinum.
Their next album, “Fly,” featuring “Cowboy Take Me Away,” “Ready to Run” and “Goodbye Earl,” was an instant success, soaring to the top of the Billboard 200 chart soon after its release in 1999. The album earned the group two more Grammys, including Best Country Album.
But in the midst of their commercial success, The Dixie Chicks ran into issues with their record label, Sony Music Entertainment. After back-and-forth legal turmoil, which included allegations of breach of contract and disputes over previous royalty payments, the two sides settled in June 2002. The band agreed to release its next album on a new label called Open Wide Records, a joint creation between Sony and The Dixie Chicks.
Despite the speed bump on their road to success, the momentum didn’t stop: The group’s sixth studio album, “Home,” also hit No. 1 and featured a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” The song reached the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and Hot Country Songs chart and was No. 1 on the magazine’s Adult Contemporary chart. The band won the Grammy for Best Country Album with “Home.”
In 2003, country music radio stations across the U.S. banned the group’s music after Maines criticized President George W. Bush just prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The lead singer told a crowd in London: “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.”
Three years later, the group was making headlines again, this time for its new hit album “Taking the Long Way,” which included themes related to the incident in London. The most successful track, “Not Ready to Make Nice,” reached the top five on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. The Dixie Chicks scored five Grammy Award wins, for Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 49th annual awards presentation in 2007.
The Associated Press contributed to this report