George Strait

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Born

Poteet, Texas, USA

Birth Name

George Strait

Gender

Male

Biography:

Strait was born and raised in Texas, the son of a junior high school math teacher who also owned and operated a ranch that had been in the Strait family for nearly hundred years. When George 9 years old, his mother left the family, taking her daughter but leaving behind her sons with their father. During his childhood, he would spend his weekdays in town and his weekends on the ranch where they were exposed to cattle roping at an early age. Strait began playing music as a teenager, joining a rock & roll garage band.


After his high-school graduation in the late '60s, Strait enrolled in college but soon dropped out and eloped with his high school sweetheart, Norma Voss. In 1971, Strait enlisted in the Army; two years later, he was stationed Hawaii. While in Hawaii, he bought his first guitar and taught himself how to play it. He began playing country music, initially with an Army-sponsored country band called Rambling Country. They played several dates off the base under the name Santee. Strait left the Army in 1975, returning to Texas with the intent of completing his education. He enrolled in Southwest Texas State University at San Marcos, where he studied agriculture. While he was studying, he got with a country band called Stoney Ridge that had been looking for a singer. When they figured out that it was working out pretty well, they decided to call themselves The Ace In The Whole Band. They made a few records for the independent Dallas-based label D in the late '70s, but they never went anywhere. Toward the end of the decade, Strait attempted to carve out a niche in Nashville, but he failed since he lacked any strong connections. In 1979, he became friends with Erv Woolsey, a Texas club owner who had formerly worked for MCA Records. Woolsey had several MCA executives come down to Texas to hear Strait. His performance convinced the company to sign him in 1980. "Unwound," Strait's first single, was released in the spring of 1981 and climbed into the Top Ten. The follow-up, "Down and Out," stalled at 16, but "If You're Thinking You Want a Stranger (There's One Coming Home)" reached number three in early 1982. The song sparked a remarkable string of Top Ten hits that ran well into the '90s. During that time he had an astonishing 31 number one singles, beginning with 1982's "Fool Hearted Memory." Throughout the '80s, he dominated the country singles charts, and his albums consistently went platinum or gold. Strait rarely abandoned hardcore honky tonk and Western swing -- toward the beginning of the '90s, his sound became a little slicker, but it was only a relative change. Strait was also one of the few '80s superstars to survive the generational shift of the early '90s that began with the phenomenal success of Brooks. In 1992, he made his first movie, Pure Country, which featured him in the lead role. Strait released a four-disc box set career retrospective, Strait out of the Box, in 1995. By the spring of 1996, it had become one of the five biggest-selling box sets in popular music history. Blue Clear Sky, his 1996 album, debuted on the country charts at number one and the pop charts at number seven. In 1997, he released Carrying Your Love with Me, following it with One Step at a Time in 1998. Always Never the Same appeared a year later, as did the seasonal effort Merry Christmas Wherever You Are. The simply titled George Strait, featuring the hit single "Go On," hit the shelves in late 2000. 2001 saw the release of The Road Less Traveled, which qualified as an experimental album of sorts for the veteran performer. While it didn't stray very far from his new traditionalist country sound, Road did include a foray into vocal processing that was about as country as a pair of Stiletto-healed cowboy boots. But the experimentation was welcome, for it revealed that Strait was still hungry, even after millions upon millions of records sold. Strait issued two projects in 2003. For the Last Time: Live from the Astrodome chronicled his headlining set at the last Houston Livestock and Rodeo ever held in the big Texas dome, while Honkytonkville was a fiery set of hard country, lauded by critics for its mixture of the old Strait with his modern, superstar self. Somewhere Down in Texas followed in 2005 and then came She let her self go in 2006.

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