George Strait: Songs That Should’ve Been Singles
The process of choosing a single for radio is often as arduous a task as writing the song. Each month, Sounds Like Nashville will feature a different artist and explore songs from his or her catalogue that we wish made it to radio. Make no mistake, this is no critique of the artist or label, it’s simply a list of songs we love so much that we think deserve to be in the spotlight. This month, we take a closer listen to George Strait’s back catalogue and find eight gems that warrant airplay.
“Blame It On Mexico” – from Strait Country
Featured on George Strait’s 1981 debut album Strait Country, “Blame It On Mexico” showcases the singer’s captivating baritone as he sings of getting away to an exotic location after suffering a heartbreak. At a bar in Acuna he finds himself falling in love once again, this time over “too much guitar music, tequila, salt and lime.” Strait’s believable delivery accompanied by the catchy island-esque music makes for what could have been an undeniable hit at radio.
“Don’t Mind If I Do” – from If You Ain’t Lovin’, You Ain’t Livin’
A different side of King George is shown on the sultry “Don’t Mind If I Do.” The jazz-infused piano ballad has Strait singing of spending a rainy night at home with his girl. “Weatherman says it’s raining again / Perfect night for staying in / Lookin’ at you, I don’t doubt that it’s true,” he croons. With nearly a minute musical interlude, it’s easy to envision Strait performing this one at a jazz club.
“Someone Had to Teach You” – from Livin’ It Up
A lively kiss-off to an ex, this upbeat number has Strait contemplating whether to take her back. In the song, he notices his former love has tears in her eyes. “Lately someone’s taught you to cry,” he notes. “Someone had to teach you / I didn’t have the heart to / Hurt you just like you’ve been hurting me.” The Harlan Howard-penned song has Strait taking the high road and telling her it’s simply a lesson she had to learn before they reunite. “Now maybe you’ll be satisfied with me,” he concedes.
“I Met A Friend of Yours Today” – from Lead On
This captivating story song has Strait portraying the character of a man who learns his wife has been cheating on him. Admitting he’s late for dinner and lost his appetite, he begins to tell the tale of how he met a “friend” of hers when he decided to go to a local bar. In the bar he heard a man speak her name, curious he continued to eavesdrop. “I listened for a while and I could tell / That that stranger there, he knew you much too well / And I introduced myself and man, you should have seen his face / Oh what a shame, I met a friend of yours today,” he sings. It’s the type of song that keeps the listener intrigued as the story unfolds and one that would have no doubt made an impact at radio.
“The Nerve” – from Carrying Your Love With Me
On “The Nerve,” Strait sings of several different storylines that got him to where he is today with the love of his life. On the Bobby Braddock-penned song, he sings of being glad he had the nerve to go up to his wife in a crowded airport and say hello. He then goes back in time, appreciating that his father had the nerve to propose to his mother and the fact that his great, great grandfather sailed across the sea in 1833. A sweet story song, “The Nerve” strikes a chord.
“Good News, Bad News” – from Somewhere Down in Texas
On the poignant “Good News, Bad News” Strait portrays a man wanting to rekindle a relationship with his former flame. “I just needed time to make up my mind / But I’m in love with you with all my heart,” he sings softly. Unfortunately for him, he’s about to receive some bad news. A powerful duet with Lee Ann Womack, she sings of how, “I had too much time and he took you off my mind / And now I’m in love with him with all of my heart.” With soaring string accompaniment alongside Strait and Womack’s mesmerizing vocals, the stirring ballad leaves a lasting mark on the listener.
“You Don’t Know What You’re Missing” – from Love is Everything
Written by Chris Stapleton and Al Anderson, “You Don’t Know What You’re Missing” paints the picture at two men at the bar talking about life. One man escapes to the pub to get away from his wife and kids and complains about never having money or time to himself like he used to. The man he’s venting to can’t sympathize as his wife and kids seemingly left him. “You don’t know what it feels like living this lonely / You don’t know what it sounds like when nobody’s home / You’ve been talkin’ and man, I’ve been doin’ some listenin’ / You don’t know what you’re missin’ till it’s gone,” Strait croons on the chorus
“Take Me to Texas” – from Cold Beer Conversation
On “Take Me to Texas,” Strait sings of his love for the Lone Star State. “When I die, take me to Texas,” the Texan sings on the Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally penned song. With vivid imagery and the state’s history and landmarks embedded within the song’s lyrics, it’s a natural fit for the King of Country Music and a song Texas has surely adopted as its own.