20 Best George Strait Songs From Country Music's Deepest Back Catalog (2023)

Crafting a playlist of the best George Strait songs without giving in and listing all 60 No. 1 hits (or his 80-plus Top 10 entries) poses a tall task. After all, his sustained greatness as a song interpreter for some of country music's greatest wordsmiths --from Dean Dillon to John Prine-- and occasional turn as a hit songwriter made for what feels like a bottomless well of truly timeless music.

Here's Wide Open Country's go-to jams from a catalog so deep and rewarding that it's worth wondering if the original Strait Out of the Box set of 4 CDs counts as one desert island disc.

20. "Baby Blue"

Strait sounds as smooth as a throwback pop crooner without it overshadowing his neo-traditionalist mission throughout one of his finest vocal performances. Though it has never been confirmed, this No. 1 from 1987 has long been rumored to be a tribute to Strait's daughter Jenifer, who died on June 25, 1986 at age 13 in a car accident.

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19. "Troubadour"

"Troubadour" addresses Strait's 21st century role as an elder statesperson of country music. It gave longtime fans flashbacks to Strait's earliest success with his Ace in the Hole band while introducing a new wave of fans to a true living legend.

18. "I Just Want to Dance With You"

There's a surrealistic charm to "I Just Want to Dance With You" that's unlike any Strait hit before or since it topped the country charts in 1998. That's because John Prine wrote the song with Roger Cook, with Prine recording it himself for his 1986 album German Afternoons.

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17. "Unwound"

The future King of Country Music's first single off his debut studio album for MCA, 1981's Strait Country, set the pace for a career rooted in Texas' dance halls yet accessible enough to shatter Nashville's glass ceiling. It gets the nod here over such early-career high points as Strait's first No. 1, 1982's "Fool Hearted Memory."

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16. "You Look So Good in Love"

This No. 1 from 1983 got cut that same year by one of the greatest singers of love songs, Mickey Gilley. Yet those swoon-worthy lyrics ("He must have stolen some stars from the sky/ And gave them to you to wear in your eyes") sound even better when sung by Strait.

15. "I Hate Everything"

Despite this one's hyper-negative title and the heartbreak festering inside both main characters' hearts, our protagonist ultimately comes away ready to repair a fractured marriage. On a lighter note, this has got to be the first Strait story-song (courtesy of co-writers Keith Stegall and Gary Harrison) that incorporates a cell phone.

14. "I Saw God Today"

In this modern classic from 2008, Strait sings of a dad-to-be who sees signs of a creator God everywhere he looks during the buildup to the birth of his daughter. It proved Strait's pliability to a song that could've worked as the sentimental change-of-pace on an album by someone like Blake Shelton.

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13. "I Cross My Heart"

First dance selections for country music-loving newlyweds got narrowed down with the arrival of 1992's Pure Country soundtrack. As if alternate universe John Doe as alternate universe Strait's drummer wasn't reason enough to hold King George's big screen debut in high regard.

12. "Carrying Your Love With Me"

One of Strait's best love songs --which clearly is high praise-- brings a summery flavor with its clear Tejano music influence. It tells of a frequent traveler (probably a touring musician) with someone special waiting a home following a weeks-long absence.

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11. "Blue Clear Sky"

Strait didn't suddenly sound like a throwback to a prior era due to the trending sounds of the '90s. Instead, he cranked out hits on par with those of Clint Black, Mark Chesnutt, future "Murder on Music Row" collaborator Alan Jackson and other like-minded country artists. For proof of this, check out the 1996 album Clear Blue Sky and its three Top 5 singles: the title track, "I Can Still Make Cheyenne" and "Carried Away."

10. "Here For a Good Time"

Not every worthwhile country song needs to be about heartbreak, home or Heaven. Some moods call for lyrics about guilt-free fun, and Strait delivers that here courtesy of the singer himself and two co-writers: his son, Bubba Strait, and Dillon.

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9. "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind?"

Sanger and Darlene Shafer co-write "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind" wasn't new when it became a title track for Strait in 1984. It appeared on a Moe Bandy album seven years prior and also got released in '84 by Keith Whitley. Yet this brilliant string of Texas metaphors needed the right Lone Star native to become immortal, and it got just that in King George.

8. "All My Ex's Live In Texas"

The title "All My Ex's Live in Texas" and the song's chorus have become as synonymous with roots-bound country music as those of Hank Williams' "Tear in My Beer" and Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again." It's that woven into the fabric of American popular music, in part because it's one of the better hits from the past 40 years to incorporate elements of western swing.

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7. "Give It Away"

On Strait's greatest 21st century hit and 41st No. 1, he mirrors its co-writer, fellow Country Music Hall of Fame member "Whisperin'" Bill Anderson, by adopting (and nailing) a conversational delivery style. Anderson co-wrote about the divorce settlement blues with Buddy Cannon and Jamey Johnson.

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6. "Ocean Front Property"

"Ocean Front Property" employs downright lies to deny the narrator's true feelings. It's a classic anti-confession and just one of many tongue-in-cheek (if not completely smart alec) songs in Strait's catalog.

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5. "The Chair"

Early in Strait's mainstream career (1985's Something Special, to be exact), this single with no chorus set him apart as an exceptional singer with an ear for exceptional songs. Dillon co-wrote this tale of a romance sparked at a honky-tonk with Hank Cochran, a veteran whose credits already included Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces."

4. "Check Yes Or No"

One of the most moving country love songs of the past 40 years, "Check Yes or No" likens a relationship with a childhood sweetheart with the childlike naivety of the couple's earliest playground encounters. This CMA and ACM Single of the Year is packed with the sweet sentimentality so many listeners crave from country hitmakers.

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Plus, its music video is downright adorable and established Strait as a '90s country fashion plate.

3. "Love Without End, Amen"

Sticking with the topic of sweet sentimentality, Strait sings not of romantic love here but of the deep reverence felt for one's earthly and Heavenly father. The Rolls Royce of Aaron Barker songs broke new ground for Strait in 1990 when it became his first multi-week No. 1.

2. "Write This Down"

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(Video) George Strait Classic Country Songs With Lyrics - Top 20 Country Music Collection - George Strait

Strait did not lose commercial steam as the 20th century reached its end, as evidenced in 1999 by this No. 1 country hit and Top 20 entry on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100. His creative brilliance as a song interpreter continued, as well, as backed up by this undeniably fun interpretation of a song penned by Dana Hunt Black ("Check Yes or No") and Kent Robbins (The Judds' "Love is Alive").

1. "Amarillo By Morning"

"Amarillo By Morning" pretty much epitomizes what makes Strait's songs so timeless, from his inviting baritone delivery to lyrical themes relatable to tender-hearted listeners. Amazingly enough, the Terry Stafford co-write has never reached No. 1.

Honorable mention songs: "Famous Last Words of a Fool," "The Cowboy Rides Away," "It Just Comes Natural," "Baby's Gotten Good at Goodbye," ""If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin')," "Right or Wrong," "She'll Leave You With a Smile," "You Know Me Better Than That" and "The Best Day."

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This story originally ran in 2016 and was updated on June 15, 2022.

READ MORE:Elvis Made His Opry Debut in 1954. It Didn't Go Well

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FAQs

What is the most successful country song of all time? ›

1. 'I Walk the Line' by Johnny Cash. Cash's first No. 1 hit on the Billboard chart managed to keep itself on the radar for 43 weeks.

What is George Strait's favorite song? ›

"My most favorite song that I've ever recorded, and it was big in the dancehalls," George has often said in concert. "People always requested this. It's called "Amarillo by Morning", and I love singing it."

What is number 1 song on country chart? ›

Sales chart of today's iTunes top 100 country songs 2022 is updated several times a day and was last updated Pacific Time. The current number one country song on iTunes is: Thank God by Kane Brown & Katelyn Brown.

How many No 1 hits has George Strait had? ›

Over his 33-year recording career, Strait has had 60 number one hits, more than any other performer in history. That's combining the number of songs that have topped the Billboard chart (44) with the number that have topped the Mediabase chart (16).

What song has been number 1 for the longest? ›

"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks. It also became the fastest song in history to be certified diamond.

What is the biggest hit ever? ›

According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.

What was George Strait's first number one song? ›

Strait's first ever No. 1 hit was "Fool Hearted Memory," released in May 1982.

Who is considered the best country singer of all time? ›

Hank Williams

With over fifty top 10 country hits, including “Move It On Over” and “Jambalaya,” he is considered by many to be the greatest country singer of all time. After getting his start on the radio, MGM Records signed Williams in 1947.

What country song stayed number 1 the longest? ›

"Body Like a Back Road" by Sam Hunt spends a record-breaking 34 consecutive weeks at number one on the Hot Country Songs chart.

What is the most played country song at a funeral? ›

Top 100 Country Funeral Songs for a Lost Loved One
  • #1 There You'll Be by Faith Hill. ...
  • #2 Go Rest High on That Mountain by Vince Gill. ...
  • #3 The Dance by Garth Brooks. ...
  • #4 When I Get Where I'm Going by Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton. ...
  • #5 How Can I Help You to Say Goodbye by Patty Loveless. ...
  • #6 Angels Among Us by Alabama.
26 Sept 2020

Who is considered the king of country music? ›

1. George Strait was born on May 18, 1952, in Poteet, Texas. The “King of Country Music” married his high school sweetheart Norma in 1971 and they remain married to this day.

What was the number one song in 1988? ›

Michael Jackson snagged No. 1 with the iconic “Man In the Mirror,” and let's not forget that 1988 was also the year George Harrison emerged from a five-year hiatus with “Got My Mind Set On You.”

What was George Strait's second number one hit? ›

"A Fire I Can't Put Out" (1983) The second No. 1 hit of Strait's career, 1983's "A Fire I Can't Put Out" is another perfectly delivered nod to a love that's gone but far from forgotten.

What is the #1 country song of 2022? ›

No. 1 Country Song of 2022: Ernest (Feat. Morgan Wallen), "Flower Shops"

What is the top 20 country songs today? ›

  • Wishful Drinking (with Sam Hunt) Ingrid Andress•Good Person. ...
  • You Proof. Morgan Wallen•You Proof. ...
  • 5 Foot 9. Tyler Hubbard•5 Foot 9. ...
  • Half Of Me. Thomas Rhett feat. ...
  • Don't Come Lookin' Jackson Dean•Don't Come Lookin' ...
  • Fall In Love. Bailey Zimmerman•Fall In Love. ...
  • Son Of A SinnerE. Jelly Roll•Ballads Of The Broken. ...
  • Country On.

Who has been number 1 in the charts for the longest? ›

Frankie Laine

Who has more hits than George Strait? ›

If only Conway Twitty is alive, perhaps, he will be the only country artist to surpass George Strait. However, “The High Priest of Country Music” left us with 40 number one singles.

How much is George Strait worth financially? ›

Introduction. As of November 2022, George Strait's net worth is estimated to be roughly $300 Million. What is this? George Strait is an American country music singer, songwriter, actor, and music producer from Texas.

Who wrote the most #1 country songs? ›

Hank Williams Sr.

Topping off our list of the most prolific country songwriters is the undisputed number one in the genre, Hank Williams.

What is the 1 song of all time? ›

Blinding Lights

What are the top 3 songs of all time? ›

Top 10 Best Songs of All Time
  • 1 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen. ...
  • 2 Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin. ...
  • 3 Imagine - John Lennon. ...
  • 4 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana. ...
  • 5 One - Metallica. ...
  • 6 Hotel California - Eagles. ...
  • 7 Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd. ...
  • 8 Hey Jude - The Beatles.

What song has made the most in royalties? ›

Here is a list of ten songs that have made millions in royalties.
  • 8 You've Lost The Lovin' Feelin'
  • 7 Yesterday.
  • 6 Unchained Melody.
  • 5 Stand By Me.
  • 4 Santa Clause Is Comin' To Town.
  • 3 Every Breath You Take.
  • 2 Oh Pretty Woman.
  • 1 The Christmas Song.
13 Apr 2022

What is the most recognized song in the world? ›

The most recognizable songs of all-time
  • Michael Jackson – Billie Jean: 2.97 seconds.
  • Culture Club – Karma Chameleon: 2.99 seconds.
  • Britney Spears – Baby One More Time: 2.99 seconds.
  • Elvis Presley – Devil in Disguise: 3.01 seconds.
  • Boney M – Rivers of Babylon: 3.03 seconds.
  • Elton John – Candle in the Wind: 3.04 seconds.
2 Sept 2022

What is the best song about life? ›

31 Best Songs About Life
  1. Beautiful by Christina Aguilera. Christina Aguilera Beautiful. ...
  2. Beautiful Day by U2. ...
  3. Born Free by Matt Munro. ...
  4. Country Roads, Take Me Home by John Denver. ...
  5. Don't Stop Believin' by Journey. ...
  6. Don't Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin. ...
  7. Dream On by Aerosmith. ...
  8. Dust in the Wind by Kansas.
29 Sept 2022

Who has the most number 1 single? ›

The Beatles have the most No. 1 hits of all time: 20.

What was the first ever number 1? ›

American crooner Al Martino took the inaugural Official Singles Chart Number 1 with his track Here In My Heart.

What was the number one song in 1990? ›

Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1990
No.TitleArtist(s)
1"Hold On"Wilson Phillips
2"It Must Have Been Love"Roxette
3"Nothing Compares 2 U"Sinéad O'Connor
4"Poison"Bell Biv DeVoe
96 more rows

What country singer has the most fans? ›

The Social Dozen: 12 Country Stars Who Have the Biggest Reach on Social Media
#NameTOTAL
1.Blake Shelton32,828,467
2.Carrie Underwood27,244,388
3.Luke Bryan22,812,371
4.Miranda Lambert19,292,902
8 more rows
3 May 2018

Who is the best country singer alive? ›

Top Country Artists (2021)
  • Morgan Wallen. 1 year ago.
  • Luke Combs. 1 year ago.
  • 1 year ago.
  • 1 year ago.
  • Chris Stapleton. 1 year ago.
  • 1 year ago. new.
  • Carrie Underwood. 1 year ago.
  • Florida Georgia Line. 1 year ago.

What song stayed in the Top 10 the longest? ›

Post Malone's 'Circles' Is Now The Longest-Running Top 10 Hit Ever.

What is the longest song ever recorded as Top 10 songs? ›

The longest song to ever make it into the top 10 was "Hey Jude" by The Beatles. It was released in 1968 and clocked in at 7 minutes and 11 seconds.

What is the number 1 funeral song? ›

“My Way” by Frank Sinatra. “Time To Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli. “Over The Rainbow” by Eva Cassidy. “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler.

What is the saddest song for a funeral? ›

Sad funeral songs
  • I'll See You Again – Westlife.
  • Over the Rainbow - Eva Cassidy.
  • Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler.
  • Nothing Compares to You - Sinead O'Connor.
  • Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd.
21 Jun 2021

What is the perfect funeral song? ›

Here are some of the most popular funeral songs:

Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Eric Idle (Monty Python's 'Life of Brian') Time to Say Goodbye – Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli. You'll Never Walk Alone – Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Who is bigger George Strait or Garth Brooks? ›

Only the Beatles (183 million units) have moved more music than Garth. And chew on this: Garth has sold 88 million units more than George Strait, who currently resides at No. 2 on our list.

Who is the real queen of country music? ›

Loretta Lynn, whose songs of strength and independence made her a standard-bearer for women in country music, has died at the age of 90. Known as the Queen of Country, her songs were rooted in real-life experience, most notably on the autobiographical Coal Miner's Daughter.

Why is George Strait not in the Grand Ole Opry? ›

There's actually a pretty simple explanation for Strait's absence from Opry membership. As a Texas resident who has remained living outside of San Antonio throughout his illustrious career, it just wasn't feasible for George Strait to become a Grand Ole Opry member.

What was the number one song in 1986? ›

Aside from becoming the unofficial anthem for the fight against AIDS, “That's What Friends Are For” also became the No. 1 song of 1986.

What was the number 1 hit song in 1989? ›

The two longest running number-one singles of 1989 are "Miss You Much" by Janet Jackson and "Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Collins, which each charted at number one for four weeks. "Another Day in Paradise" attained two weeks at number one in 1989 and two more weeks in 1990, achieving four weeks at the top.

What was the number one song of 1985? ›

1. USA for Africa topped the Hot 100, kicking off a philanthropic legacy that continues today.

Who has the most number 2 hits without number 1? ›

Creedence Clearwater Revival

The group has the most No. 2-peaking hits without a No. 1: five. They reached the runner-up slot with “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Green River,” “Travelin' Band/Who'll Stop the Rain” and “Lookin' Out My Back Door/Long As I Can See the Light.”

Who has the most number 2 hits of all time? ›

That honor belongs to the Queen of Pop, Madonna. In addition to her 12 #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits, Madame X has posted a total of 6 additional hits peaking at #2. Billboard credits Madonna as the #2 most successful artist in the charts history spanning the yeas 1958–2018, second only to those lads from Liverpool.

Who has had 50 number one hits? ›

1 Hits. New! Follow this author to stay notified about their latest stories.

How many Top 10 hits does George Strait have? ›

He has 44 No. 1s on the Billboard country charts, the most of any artist. Strait has also amassed 86 Top 10 hits on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, second only to Eddy Arnold, who had 92.

What was George Strait's first Top 10 hit? ›

Strait's first ever No. 1 hit was "Fool Hearted Memory," released in May 1982.

Who has the most #1 hits in history? ›

The Beatles have the most No. 1 hits of all time: 20. Though unclear for how long, the Beatles still reign supreme as the artist with the most No. 1 songs of all time.

What was George Strait's last number one hit? ›

"River of Love" (2008) Released in 2008 and written by Billy Burnette, Shawn Camp and Dennis Morgan, the groovy "River of Love" is one of Strait's most recent No. 1 hits.

What is the biggest number one hit ever? ›

"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks. It also became the fastest song in history to be certified diamond.

What country singer has the most #1 hits? ›

Without a doubt, George Strait holds the title of having the most number one singles. He holds the record of 44 songs that reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

Who is the greatest hit maker of all time? ›

Top 10 artists of all time (1958–2021)
  • The Beatles.
  • Madonna.
  • Elton John.
  • Elvis Presley.
  • Mariah Carey.
  • Stevie Wonder.
  • Janet Jackson.
  • Michael Jackson.

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