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April 23-25

Why today? Friday marks the 29th anniversary — was it really THAT long ago? — of the release of George Strait’s debut single as a solo artist.

About the record: MCA 51104, recorded Feb. 2, 1981, at Music City Music Hall in Nashville. Released April 23 of that year, on its way to No. 6 on Billboard‘s country chart. Also appeared on Strait Country, MCA 5248, released Sept. 4, 1981. It reached No. 26 on Billboard‘s country album chart.

After one bar of rhythm from the rest of the band, Rob Hajacos’ fiddle screams this honky-tonk classic — the non-Texan’s introduction to George Strait — to life. Listening to this, it’s hard to believe Strait was a rookie artist, isn’t it? “By blending the hardcore honky tonk, Western swing and Bakersfield country with a few melodic ballads that weren’t designed for the barroom, he set the template for years and years of modern country,” wrote Stephen Thomas Erlewine in his insightful review of the Strait Country album that contained this fine Dean Dillon-Frank Dycus composition.

About the artist: Strait has set quite a standard, and he has influenced so, so many male artists — from the storied Class of ’89 to the current crop of stars. His place in the Country Music Hall of Fame is well-deserved.

Have a great weekend. See you Monday.