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April 26

Terry Stafford, The Man who First Recorded “Amarillo by Morning”

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“Amarillo by Morning” is a classic song known by many to be owned by George Strait. He made the song popular by letting it reach number four on the country chart. His version has also entered the Canadian chart and placed at number one.

terry stafford george strait Amarillo by morning
Photo Credit: George Strait/ Official Facebook Page

The Original “Amarillo by Morning” by Terry Stafford

This popular single was penned by Terry Stafford and Paul Fraser in the ’70s. Stafford was the first artist to record the song. At first, his record was the B-side to Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose. However, when “Amarillo by Morning” became commercially successful they changed it to the A-side of the album. Stafford’s rendition has also entered the country chart in the US. It reached number thirty-one on the chart.

Here’s the original version of “Amarillo by Morning.”

George Strait’s Inspiration

Stafford’s rendition was not Strait’s inspiration for recording the song. Kelly Schoppa who collaborated with Janie Fricke recorded the song in 1982. When Strait heard their version, he decided to record the song in 1983.

Chris LeDoux has also recorded the song for his album Life as a Rodeo Man. Other artists who covered the song were Moe Bandy, Clifton Jansky, Asleep at the Wheel, and John Arthur Martinez.

Behind the Song

After Stafford gained a hit song from his single “Suspicion,” he was stuck not knowing what to do next. After signing a deal with Atlantic label, Stafford was about to write his most famous song. He teamed up with Fraser to work on writing songs for a film, and it was during that time when “Amarillo by Morning” came to life. One night, Stafford was watching an ad that says:

“Get your package to places like Amarillo by the next morning.”

That line caught his attention, maybe because he grew up in Amarillo, Texas. He called Fraser about his idea, and they meet the next day.

amarillo by morning terry stafford george strait
Photo Credit: Terry Stafford/ amazon.com

Despite the different arrangements of Staffords steel guitar that was incorporated in Strait’s rendition, “Amarillo by Morning” certainly is a wonderful classic country song loved by many.


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Amarillo by Morning, George Strait, Terry Stafford


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