Artist Profile: George Strait
I will never forget hearing George Strait’s debut single in 1981. “Unwound” had me hooked. And apparently, the world of Country Music. It became a quick top 10 single and launched one of the most storied careers in Music.
This year, King George is retiring from the road. He never did tour a lot, but when he was out in front of the fans they saw something special. In the 90’s, his Country Music Festival stadium tours drew crowds only Garth Brooks could match. And he helped solidify the careers of his opening acts. Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, The Dixie Chicks, LeeAnn Womack, Sara Evans and Brad Paisley.
There was even a stage for brand new artists. George wanted to give fans exposure to these performers to help their careers and Country Music as a whole.
As a recording artist, he was just as successful; and still is! He has had more number 1 songs than any other artist in any genre ever. And he is 2 albums away from passing Elvis and the Beatles with the most gold/platinum albums ever. Pretty impressive for a country boy.
Enough about the artist, let’s talk about the man. He was born near San Antonio (which is why the trip we are giving away is so special) and lives there today. He is still married to his school sweetheart, Norma. They got hitched in 1971. Twice! He then enlisted in the Army and began performing in an Army sanctioned band. That is what kick started his dream.
You may hear a lot about his son, Bubba, who recently gave him a grandchild. What you may not have heard about is his firstborn child, Jennifer Lynn Strait. Sadly, as George started winning awards and garnering number one songs, she was killed in a car crash at age 13. “Baby Blue” is rumored to be dedicated to her.
Being private, George never really discussed this in the press. He rarely gives interviews. When he is not recording or touring, he doesn’t pick up a guitar.
One interesting note: George didn’t know how to read music when he started out. I don’t know if he can now.
I went to see George Strait’s Festival back in 1999. It was in Pittsburgh. The temperature was pushing 100 that day and as the Dixie Chicks hit the stage, I hit the ground. I ended up in the hospital (along with many others from the concert) with heat exhaustion. I never did get to see George that day.
Don’t feel bad for me, though. In 2007, I had the pleasure of being in Nashville to watch George Strait, Bill Anderson and Jamey Johnson pick up the CMA Song of the Year Award for “Give It Away”. I finally got to meet him that night. A lifelong dream come true! He’s short!
As King George rides his tour bus into the sunset, I hope you can be there in San Antonio to see the show he will cherish most. His last hometown performance. Don’t forget to enter.
Long live King George!