As Rocks Off dives into the top slots of our favorite George Strait songs from his 30-year career - see Nos. 20-16, 15-11 and 10-6 - we are waiting anxiously to see if King George was able to knock Lil' Wayne's Tha Carter IV from atop the Billboard 200. A top seat for the brand-new Here For a Good Time on the country albums chart is an absolute reality, just as Houston is hot and beer is best cold.
This past weekend, we picked up 2006's It Just Comes Natural, which features "How 'Bout Them Cowgirls," "I Ain't Her Cowboy Anymore" and the spiritual brother of "Ocean Front Property," a rib-tickler called "She Told Me So." Yes, we do buy at least one Strait album once a week, booze budget permitting. But then again, if we are drinking a lot, Strait's music is actually a part of our liquid diet, like ice or Coca-Cola.
We finish up this list with a few of Strait's best and most beloved tracks. Knowing the Rocks Off team, this list could have gone on for weeks. Hit up our Rdio account to dive into the mouth of madness... if you dare.
5. "Amarillo By Morning": Gene Elders' fiddle alone - one of the most beautiful and recognizable melodies in country music history - would be enough to land "Amarillo" in the Top 5, but it's also got one of the best key changes in George Strait's catalog and one of the best back stories we've ever heard. Rocks Off Jr. told you all about it back in June. Chris Gray
Written By: Terry Stafford Originally Released On: Strait From the Heart (1982)
4. "The Chair": Paul Franklin's steel guitar strikes again on this list, during the intro of what is arguably Strait's best-known cut, written by the late songwriting great Hank Cochran. Strait's ability to take a song and make it into a conversational honky-tonk masterpiece is a testament to what has made him King George since 1981. Also, the character in the song is kind of devious, and a smooth operator. Shit, just watch the video's beginning when Strait pulls up his head into the light and starts slaying the ladies. And you know that the guy at the bar has used that "chair" line before, and there has to be a line of teary-eyed women to prove it. Craig Hlavaty
Written By: Hank Cochran Originally Released On: Something Special (1985)
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3. "Gone As a Girl Can Get": Coming just as the pop-country epidemic was hitting its stride, Holding My Own saw Strait laughing at the new kids coming up in the industry who would attempt to usurp his throne, using Western Swing and the timeless crooning of "All of Me (Loves All of You)" to hold his own against the frilly hair and fancy pearl snaps surrounding him. Compared to the other country records of that year - Billy Ray Cyrus' Some Gave All; Garth Brooks' The Chase - this was Strait's meat-and-potatoes declaration. "Gone As a Girl Can Get" was positively simple and straightforward, and sans fireworks. C.H.
Written By: Jerry Max Lane Originally Released On: Holding My Own (1992)
2. "Unwound": Fiddle high up in the mix, Strait's first Top 10 hit is a tale as old as country music itself, tailored for the post-women's-lib early '80s: Man takes woman for granted, she gives him what-for, he seeks solace on a barstool. Much more upbeat than it has any right to be, "Unwound" sold the first few thousand albums in a career that would eventually reach some 70 million. C.G.
Written By: Dean Dillon & Frank Dycus Originally Released On: Strait Country (1981)
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1. "Fool Hearted Memory": He had other hits before, but "Fool Hearted Memory" was Strait's first No. 1, and the song that proved he was here to stay. Conversational as Sinatra, moony as Merle Haggard, Strait's voice immediately entered the pantheon of country greats as the nimble lead guitar pitched in just enough twang. I don't even remember how young I was when I first heard this song, but today I can call up all the words from memory on a dime. Nickel and dime. Sometimes songwriting by committee gets it right.
Written By: Byron Hill, Alan R. Mevis, Blake Mevis & David Wills Originally Released On: Strait From the Heart