STORY BEHIND THE SONG ... 'FOOL HEARTED MEMORY'

Byron Hill and Blake Mevis penned George Strait's first No. 1

Back in 1981, Byron Hill and Blake Mevis set out to write a song for the movie The Soldier - and they ended up launching a superstar career.

The song was "Fool Hearted Memory," which became the first No. 1 hit for a still-struggling singer named ... George Strait! George was so anonymous that only Blake, George's record producer at the time, knew him. Byron, on the other hand, had barely heard of George.

"I had written a song for a movie called The Exterminator," recalls Byron. "The same company came to my publisher and wanted a song for The Soldier. But there was more to it. The studio wanted a major-label artist to record the song and perform it in the movie. And they would only commit to the song if it was released as a single."

MCA Records felt that George Strait was the right man for the job. "I sort of knew who George was," says Byron with a sheepish laugh. "He'd had a couple of singles out. But he was certainly not a household name."

That would change soon after Byron and Blake began cranking on "Fool Hearted Memory." "Blake had the title and some of the melody," remembers Byron. "But once we started, it just kind of fell out - we finished it pretty quickly. Blake made a work tape of the song, we pitched it to George and the movie company, and they all liked it."

Fan response to the movie - a violent, swashbuckling, U.S.-versus-Russia spy romp - was lukewarm, and critical reaction was even worse. But while the film fizzled, "Fool Hearted Memory" exploded, racing up the charts to No. 1 in August of 1982. Suddenly, everyone knew the name George Strait.

"I never got the feeling that the song would start such a monumental career," laughs Byron. "But George really took off from there."

So did the writers' careers. Blake went on to produce future hits for George like "Marina Del Ray" and "Amarillo By Morning." Byron has penned such hits as "Born Country" for Alabama and "High Tech Redneck" for George Jones, though he never enjoyed another Strait cut.

"That's OK," says Byron, "because 'Fool Hearted Memory' put me on the map as a writer. People tell me that it's still their favorite George Strait song."

-- Bob Paxman

"Fool Hearted Memory"
Written by Byron Hill and Blake Mevis
Performed by George Strait

Nickels and dimes, memories and wine
She's on his mind once again
The same old stool, the same old fool
Played by the rules but didn't win
There's an old love in his heart that he can't lose
He tried forgettin', but he knows that it's no use

He's got a fool hearted memory
It won't let him see that she walked out the door
He's got a fool hearted memory
And he sits patiently here every night
So it can fool him more

She was his girl, his only whirl
That string of pearls that slipped away
A thousand dimes, a thousand times
He doesn't mind what they say
He fills the jukebox, then plays the same old song
He fills his glass, and then he turns her memory on

But it's a fool hearted memory
It won't let him see that she walked out the door
He's got a fool hearted memory
And he sits patiently here every night
So it can fool him more

He's got a fool hearted memory
It won't let him see that she walked out the door
He's got a fool hearted memory
And he sits patiently here every night
So it can fool him more

FOOL HEARTED MEMORY Copyright 1982 Sony/ATV Tunes LLC and Make Believus. All rights administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, 8 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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