Luke Bryan attends the 40th Annual CMA Awards at the Gaylord Entertainment Center November 6, 2006 in Nashville, Tennessee. / Luke Bryan attends "American Idol" 20th Anniversary Celebration at Desert 5 Spot on April 18, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images/ (Photo by Momodu Mansaray/Getty Images

Luke Bryan Through the Years: Look Back at His Life in Photos

Thomas Luther Bryan, known professionally as Luke Bryan, was born on July 17, 1976 in Leesburg, Georgia. His father was a peanut farmer, just like fellow Georgian Jimmy Carter, who would take office as president of the United States in 1977. Bryan intended to move to Nashville at age 19, but his brother lost his life in a car accident and Bryan stayed closer to home to be with family. He graduated from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia in 1999 with a degree in business administration, but his father encouraged him two years later to load up his truck and move to Nashville to pursue his dream. Country music fans are glad that he did, because the award-winning singer has become one of the biggest country stars alive.

In celebration of his 46th birthday on July 17, take a look back at Bryan's life in the spotlight through photos highlighting some of his milestones.

2006: Luke Bryan Releases His Debut Single, "All My Friends Say"

Luke Bryan attends the 40th Annual CMA Awards at the Gaylord Entertainment Center November 6, 2006 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images

Although Bryan started his career in Nashville as a songwriter for other artists, it wasn't long before he got signed as a solo artist. He released a self-titled EP in 2006 featuring the song "All My Friends Say," which also became the debut single from his 2007 album, I'll Stay Me. The gold-certified song spent 30 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and even crossed over to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.

2009: Bryan Releases His Second Album, Doin' My Thing

Caroline Bryan and Luke Bryan attends the 2009 CMT Music Awards at the Sommet Center on June 16, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Photo by Tony R. Phipps/WireImage

"Do I" is the debut single from Bryan's second album, Doin' My Thing, released in 2009. The album's two subsequent singles, "Rain Is a Good Thing" and "Someone Else Calling You Baby," both went to number one on the country charts. Bryan also appeared on Celebrity Apprentice, during which a month's worth of iTunes sales of Bryan's "Rain Is a Good Thing" was donated to Cyndi Lauper's charity, the Stonewall Community Foundation. Bryan is pictured above in 2009 with his wife, Caroline, whom he married in 2006.

2011: Bryan Fights For His Right to Party with Third Album

 Luke Bryan performs onstage at the 45th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 9, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Photo by Jason Kempin/WireImage

Luke Bryan's third album, Tailgates & Tanlines, is packed with hit songs about partyin', lovin' and imbibin' such as "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)," which enjoyed crossover success on the Billboard Hot 100.  The album's next three singles—"I Don't Want This Night to End", "Drunk on You" and "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye"—all topped the country music charts.  In 2013, Bryan kept the party going with his first compilation album, Spring Break... Here to Party, which included 12 songs from his previous Spring Break EPs as well as 2 new singles, including "Buzzkill."

2014: Bryan Kicks Off His That's My Kind of Night Tour

Luke Bryan performs during the 'That's My Kind of Night' tour at the Concord Pavilion on October 17, 2014 in Concord, California.

Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic

The party (and the hit songs) never seem to end for Luke Bryan, who released his fourth album, Crash My Party, in 2013. He embarked on the That's My Kind of Night tour in 2014 to support the album and its six hit singles: "Crash My Party," "That's My Kind of Night," "Drink a Beer," "Play It Again," "Roller Coaster" and "I See You." Crash My Party won Top Country Album at the Billboard Music Awards.

2016-'19: Luke Bryan Makes Billboard History and Joins American Idol as Judge

Singer Luke Bryan speaks during the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards host press conference at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 1, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Photo by David Becker/ACM2016/Getty Images

Luke Bryan made history in 2016 when all six singles from his 2015 album Kill the Lights reached number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. In 2017, Bryan sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas and, later that year, was announced as a judge on American Idol. He released his sixth album, What Makes You Country, in 2017, which contains the hits "Light It Up," "Most People Are Good" and "Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset." When American Idol returned in 2019, Bryan came back as a judge alongside Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.

2021: Luke Bryan Resumes Touring After COVID-19 Crashes the Party

This image has been retouched) In this image released on June 10th, 2021, Luke Bryan poses on set for the 2021 CMT Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee broadcast on June 9, 2021

Photo by John Shearer/2021 CMT Awards/Getty Images for CMT

Luke Bryan had to postpone his seventh album, Born Here Live Here Die Here, until August 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also had to delay the start of his corresponding tour until 2021, but none of this has stopped the Luke Bryan party train. On November 10, 2021, he became the first solo host of the Country Music Association Awards in 18 years. With over 75 million records sold, numerous awards, a devoted wife and two children, Bryan has much to celebrate this year. Happy birthday and party on, buddy!

READ MORE: Meet Luke Bryan's Other Half, Caroline Boyer Bryan