George Strait is the undeniable “King of Country Music.” He has a music career that spans more than 30 years. And that includes 60 No. 1 singles, more than any other artist in any genre. He boasts 33 platinum or multi-platinum-selling albums, more than any country artist and third across all genres behind only Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
Truly a legendary, here are some other facts you might not know about the “The Cowboy Rides Away” singer.
10. He Has A Degree In Agriculture
George Strait pretty knows his stuff when it comes to ranch livin’. In 1975, the King of Country enrolled at Southwest Texas State University, which is now the Texas State, and earned a degree in agriculture. No wonder why he has been very convincing on those Tractor Supply Co. commercials.
9. He was named ‘Texan of the Year’
In 2018, the Country Music Hall of Fame Member had been named Texan of the Year by the Texas Legislative Conference, a statewide group of business and political leaders. Every year, the honorary title is given to a Texas resident who made a notable impact on the state. George Strait was chosen for his fundraising efforts in the wake of widespread flooding following Hurricane Harvey.
8. He Has Been With Only One Record Label For His Entire Professional Career
George Strait, whose name has become synonymous with “pure country” since his 1981 debut, has been with MCA Records Nashville from the very beginning. He has produced 30 studio albums, three live albums, and 11 compilation albums with the label. And of these albums, 36 have received a certification of at least Gold from the Recording Industry Association of America.
7. He Has Only Been Married Once
He did not only stay loyal to his record label but as well as to the love of his life, his high school sweetheart Norma Strait, ever since they eloped in 1971. He calls her “the first girl I ever loved.” The two went to high school together in Pearsall, Texas, and “knew each other forever,” the country star said.
6. Ace In The Hole Band Is The Only Band That Has Ever Backed The Country Star
The King of Country is not the only one loyal here. The Ace in the Hole Band has been George Strait’s backup band since 1975. They met when Strait was still in the University.
The band members also have recorded with George Strait in the studio. Perhaps the most notable of their studio recordings was Strait’s 1987 release, “Ocean Front Property.” The song was the first country song ever to enter the charts at No. 1.
5. Merle Haggard Changed His Life
George Strait took the news especially hard when Merle Haggard passed away. He said Haggard’s music ultimately pushed him toward a career as a country artist.
4. He Thinks Of His Late Daughter Whenever He Sings “You’ll Be There”
In 1986, George Strait lost his daughter Jenifer Strait to a car accident; she was only 13 years old then. Though the singer has not talked much about the incident, he admits that his 2005 song “You’ll Be There” makes him think of his little girl.
“I’m a religious person. I honestly believe we will see each other in heaven someday,” Strait said. “I wanted to do the song badly. The writer, Cory Mayo, held that song out because he knew I wanted to do it, and he waited until I had the chance. It was kind of him to do that.”
3. He Is An Avid NBA Watcher
And you will often seem him sitting at the courtside of San Antonio Spurs games.
2. He’s Not A Grand Ole Opry Member
Despite being the King of Country, George Strait is not a member of the Opry. The country legend reportedly turned down an invitation to become a member of the historic organization, though the reason was not revealed.
1. He Holds The Record For Most CMA Awards In The History of Country Music
George Strait does not only hold the record for the most No. 1 singles on the Billboard country charts, but he has also racked up more Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association awards than anyone in country music history. George Strait has 83 CMA nominations and 23 wins. This includes three wins for Entertainer of the Year.