For the past seven years I’ve interviewed countless musicians and professionals connected to the Texas/Red Dirt scene. Each interview always has one thing in common: what’s your favorite George Strait song? We’ve always thought of it as a musical litmus test. George’s catalog is so well-known and there are so many to pick from that it’s always interesting to see what someone says.
So, in honor of King George’s birthday today, here is a compilation of everyone’s favorite Strait songs from nearly a decade of 20 Questions.
Jack Ingram: “The Chair”. I used to make out to that song with my high school girlfriend.
Cody Canada: “Marina Del Ray” because it kicks some serious ass.
Roger Creager: “Under These Conditions” and “The Only Thing That I Have Left”
Bart Crow: “The Only Thing That I Have Left” from the Strait From The Heart record. Because when I was a kid I spent hours daydreaming and putting on mock concerts to my sister and her friends…or just the mirror…and that was the record that was always spinning. The words of the song were how I imagined it’d be playing music for a living. In my mind, singers were like Red Stovall, Clint Eastwood in Honky Tonk Man, but if you did what George sings about here, you’d be like him, on TV! The mind of a 10 year old, if you were on channel 13 on Austin City Limits on the weekend, you had made it!
Randy Rogers: “Fool Hearted Memory”
Josh Abbott: It has to be either “Amarillo By Morning” or “Texas” because I think they sound Texas country. But I recently wrote a tune named “Dallas Love” that we’re going to pitch to him so cross your fingers on that one. Odds are slim to none but I gotta try.
Wade Bowen: “Honky Tonk Crazy”
Mike Eli: I’d have to go with “Famous Last Words of a Fool”..need I say more?
Adam Hood: “Marina Del Ray” is my favorite Strait song.
Ryan Beaver: I like to break George up into old and modern. For Older Strait, it has to be “You Look So Good In Love”. I’m not a fan of the talking part but I always felt like that song was so well written. It’s a great country song. With Modern Strait, I’d go with “Run”. Fantastic melody and great lyrics…love it.
Pauline Reese: New George, “Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa”
Old George, “This Is Where the Cowboy Rides Away”.
Matt Hillyer of 1100 Springs: “Unwound”
Scott Copeland: “Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross Your Mind?”
Fred Andrews: “Carrying Your Love with Me”
Josh Frasier of the Texas Rangers: “Lefty’s Gone” My college roommate and I jammed that tune every Thursday night on our way to Denim and Diamonds. It brings back great memories! I have to add “Marina Del Ray” just because it is greatness.
Miranda Lambert: “Leave You With a Smile”
Kevin Fowler: “Right or Wrong”. The old Bob Wills song, but I love George’s version.
Bleu Edmondson: Any Clay Blaker song he’s ever recorded.
Deanna Kenisell of Big Hearted Babes: “The Chair” hands down, but there are a lot of his songs that mean so much more to me after meeting the writers and hearing some of the stories behind them.
Mark McKinney: I like lots of his old ones, but would have to say. “Fool Hearted Memory”. I just love the melody on that tune.
Drew Kennedy: “The Fireman”
Blake Myers of Rosehill: “Marina Del Ray”. Just a great song. My first dance was to that song so that probably has something to do with it. Every time I hear it, it takes me back to that time in my life. It’s amazing the power that music has to create picture frames in your mind of exact events in people’s lives.
Justin Frazell: “Blame It On Mexico”
Lincoln Durham: “Amarillo by Morning” written by Terry Stafford and Paul Fraser because I used to play it in the Opry band I was in when I was a kid. So, I have fond memories of the tune. I even make mention of it in “Trucker’s Love Song”.
Doug Moreland: “Blame It On Mexico”
Todd Purifoy: “80 Proof Bottle of Tear Stopper”. Why was that never a freaking single? That probably would have put him over the top. Too bad for him…that guy could have been somebody.
Brandon Rhyder: “The Chair”
Rich O’Toole: “Ocean Front Property”
Matt Powell: I like his version of the Bruce Robinson song, “Desperately”.
Steve Rice of No Justice: “Run”. Love that song…just a catchy melody and a great message.
Josh Grider: “Let’s Fall to Pieces Together”
Peter Dawson: “Blame It On Mexico”
Keith Davis: “The King of Broken Hearts” written by the great Jim Lauderdale.
Owen Temple: “Amarillo By Morning”…I like a good rodeo song.
Ashlee Rose: “Baby Blue”…it’s been my favorite song since I was little.
Zach Jennings of Lone Star Music: Here’s where you get me in trouble. (laughs) Full disclosure: I’m not sure I’ve heard a George Strait album that was produced after 1989. And this is such a copout since it was a cover, but “Amarillo By Morning” is just a very vivid piece of nostalgia for me. My dad was a Waylon guy and I have a VHS tape somewhere floating around of me belting out “Women Do Know How To Carry On” when I was 5 or 6 and thought falsely that I was alone in my bedroom. But “Amarillo By Morning” and Steve Wariner’s “Kansas City Lights” were songs that I heard, oh, no fewer than 15,000 times each in my childhood.
Jason Eady: “Let’s Fall To Pieces Together”
Kristen Kelly: “Unwound”…still great to this day.
Jackson Taylor: “Easy Come, Easy Go”
Larry Joe Taylor: “I Just Want To Dance With You”
Matt Dunnam: “Unwound”
Ryan Bales: Either “The Chair” or “Cowboy Rides Away”
Patrick Davis: “Amarillo By Morning”
Mark Sanders: “80 Proof Bottle of Tear Stopper”
Magee Payne: All of them really, but “Baby Blue”, “Good at Goodbyes”, “Love Without End Amen”, and one that Blaker wrote for him but I can’t remember the name. (ed. note “The Only Thing I Have Left”).