George Strait could sing the telephone directory if he wants, and it would still probably climb to the top of the charts! His voice is unlike any other, so it was no longer a surprise when he was named the King of Country Music.
One of his most notable singles is his 1990s hit, “Love Without End, Amen,” the lead-off single from Strait’s album Livin’ It Up. It spent five weeks at No. 1 on the country charts, giving Strait his first multi-week No. 1.
“Love Without End, Amen,” tells a story about a trouble-making son who was sent home from school one day for fighting. After telling his father what happened, he expected a harsh punishment. To his surprise, his father said to him that “Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then, it’s a love without end, amen.”
Although George Strait didn’t actually write the song, it struck a chord with the country star. The lyrics, “When I became a father in the spring of ’81, there was no doubt that stubborn boy was just like my father’s son” are proven to be true since his son, Bubba, was born in 1981.
The two have a very close bond. Bubba has actually co-written most of George Strait’s more recent songs.
The Song Goes to the Heart of Being a Father
“Love Without End, Amen” was written by songwriter Aaron Barker who took a long time to learn that fatherhood entails more, much more than being a friend to a son. It was when his son reached an age when boys test their father’s boundaries, patience, and love.
One day, Barker’s 16-year-old son had broken a few big rules when he took his car out for a spin. “He got this car, and he went some places he shouldn’t,” Barker explained, “and on one particular day, it was bad.” He hit a curb and sent one of its wheels on top of the hood of another driver’s brand-new Porsche. That day, Barker knew the relationship had to change in a fundamental way.
“That was the night it really came to the reality that I had to be the dad. I couldn’t just be his friend,” Barker explained, still very much moved by the memory of that night. “I got on him pretty hard, and he finally went to bed.”
As he was still trying to process what had happened, he had his own doubts about how he’d handled things, unsure if he’d done the proper measure of discipline to his son. “I just didn’t know if I’d gotten on him too hard or not hard enough,” Barker said.
But there was a bigger question lurking in the songwriter’s head. A more existential question. The very same question any of us who’ve ever raised kids to wrestle with.
“How can you be that mad at somebody and still love them that much?” Barker wondered. What he did next ended up being one of the biggest and the best decisions of his life. He turned those raw emotions he was feeling, and those difficult questions he was asking, into a song.
“So I got the guitar, and I’m playing and praying and thinking, looking for this answer, and this song was the answer to it.” The answer was, “Love Without End, Amen.”
Make sure to check out the King of Country Music’s incredible performance below.