George Strait is the gold standard by which many of
today's male country music singers measure themselves.
And many still come up short. He tours only sporadically
and films music videos only when the mood strikes, and
yet, George Strait concert tickets are still in constant
demand, even after more than 25 years.
Strait wins fans with both his easygoing charm and
his traditional, yet ever appealing, style of country
music. When other acts are frantically trying to keep
up with the music business's trends, Strait seems content
to stick to what has worked for him in the past, remaining
true to the roots of the honkytonk and Western swing
with which he grew up.
Strait is no stranger to tradition. He was born in
Poteet, Texas, in 1952, the son of a teacher who was
also operating the family ranch that had been passed
down through the Strait clan for almost 100 years. Though
he played in rock and roll bands during his high school
years, Strait would eventually return to his roots.
After dropping out of college to elope with high school
sweetheart Norma, Strait joined the Army, and while
stationed in Hawaii, began playing with a country band.
After leaving the military, he re-enrolled in college
and formed his own group, Ace in the Hole.
The band put out a few albums on an independent label
in the 1970s with no real success, but in 1979, Strait
struck up a friendship with Erv Woolsey, who had worked
with MCA Records. Woolsey talked MCA executives into
hearing Strait sing, and he was signed to the label
in 1980. His first single, "Unwound," reached
the Top Ten in 1981, and it wasn't long before nearly
every single Strait put out headed directly up the country
charts. "Fool-Hearted Memory" marked the first
of his dozens of number one hits when it climbed those
charts in 1982.
Throughout the following two-plus decades, and the
myriad awards and accolades, Strait has largely stuck
with the sound that got him where he is, and his success
has never really waned. Though he has occasionally branched
out, with a starring role in the movie "Pure Country"
and with a slight twist on his typical sound now and
then, Strait has in general remained the same artist
he has been for all of his career.