George Strait: Artist of the Decade!
George Strait’s friends and fellow performers tell why he’s still “The King” and why there’ll never be another like him.
A simple look at the career numbers and awards—56 No. 1s, a record-setting 22 CMA awards, membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame, more than 67 million records sold, four Grammy Nominations this year alone and much more—and it’s obvious that both fans and the country music industry have loved George Strait for a long time. But, in spite of his more than 25 years as a major force on records, radio and concert stages, 56-year-old George is nowhere near finished adding to the legacy that may never be approached by another artist.
As proof that he’s still goin’ strong, the Academy of Country Music recently named George Artist of the Decade for his achievements in the past 10 years. Only four other acts—Marty Robbins, Loretta Lynn, Alabama and Garth Brooks—have ever been awarded such an honor. To celebrate the achievement, the Academy will honor him with a TV special on CBS later this year. The taping will be April 6 in Las Vegas, the day after the live telecast of the ACM Awards from the MGM Grand. Here’s what some of George’s fellow entertainers had to say about him when we asked why he’s been so successful for so long and what kind of personal impact he’s made on them. Based on how they feel about him, we can only say . . . It’s good to be the King.
George Strait is the crème de la crème of being a gentleman. On stage and off stage, he has proven to us ladies that charming cowboys still do exist. He has serenaded us for years and he keeps going and going . . . and he does it with a smile.
I remember my first trip from Canada to Nashville. We went over 300 miles out of our way, just so we could drive through Amarillo, TX. I saw cactus for the first time, dead armadillos on the road and I started singing "Amarillo by Morning." I'd finally made it to George Strait's Texas! He's had a significant influence on me and my music.
100 years from now George Strait will still be the perfect example of country and western music. He's timeless and unchanging in an industry constantly searching for the next big thing. Mr. Strait just seems to have found it a long time ago. “If it ain't broke, don't fix it” has to be the Strait motto. After 50 some odd No. 1 songs and a sound track to any music fans life, he is still surprising. “Troubadour” is added to my list of the greatest country songs ever. The only problem I have with the song, besides me not writing it, is that it does remind us that George Strait isn't the young Troubadour he used to be. What will we do when there are no more new George Strait albums?
I think that George is the reigning King of Country because since the beginning of his career, he’s continued to put out amazing records and songs that people love and can relate to—I know I'm one of those people. He's also still such a humble and sweet man after all of his accomplishments, which is endearing to myself as well as many others I imagine.
My most personal experience with George is the first time The Wreckers played the CMA's, and we happened to pass George on the way to the stage and briefly met. It was definitely a fan moment for me! And playing with George Strait in the front row watching you is pretty intimidating! But it's also a moment where you think to yourself how honored you are to be standing on the stage playing for your heroes. And George has been and will always be one of mine.
I am still fairly young so I have to admit that my fascination with George began with the movie "Pure Country." I used to watch that movie over and over! I just think that George has a charm and shyness and a mystery about him that draws you in, not to mention that smile that can melt anyone! Yet . . . there is also this downright realness to him as well. I think he has probably just always remained himself and stayed true to his roots and I think maybe that’s why he has sustained a career that anyone would dream to have! That’s the kind of career I want! People (including myself) feel like they can relate to him. He has a way of telling stories through his songs that cut right to the core. He is and will always be a legend of country music.
For more from George, check out the March 30 issue of Country Weekly.