Remembering George Strait’s ‘All My Ex’s’ on Its 35th Anniversary of Going No. 1: Here’s Why It Never Won a Grammy

by Blake Ells

On this date (July 11) in 1987, George Strait returned to the top of the country music charts with “All My Ex’s Live in Texas.” Thirty-five years ago, it became the second single from Ocean Front Property to achieve the feat. The song earned The King a nomination for Best Male Country Vocal Performance at the 1988 Grammy Awards.

The song was written by Sanger D. Shafer and Lyndia J. Shafer. Sanger had written a few tunes for George Strait before. He’d also written a string of songs for Lefty Frizzell and George Jones. Upon Lefty’s death, he penned the tune “Left’s Gone,” which Strait recorded on his 1985 album Something Special. He also wrote “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind?” another signature single recorded by The King.

“All My Ex’s Live in Texas” didn’t win that Grammy in 1988. It was beaten by “Forever and Ever, Amen,” a track by Randy Travis. That song was co-written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz. Schlitz also wrote a lot of songs in the George Strait catalog.

In the song, the narrator leaves his native state behind because he’s had a lot of bad relationships pile up there. So he heads to Tennessee to start a new life, but he fondly recalls his home. It’s had plenty of appearances in pop culture, including in the classic 1989 Patrick Swayze film Roadhouse. It even appeared in a track by Drake titled “HYFR.”

It was part of a string of number one hits for George Strait. The first single from the record, “Ocean Front Property” also hit number one. So did the next single, “Am I Blue.” Ocean Front Property was the seventh studio album for Strait.

44 Number One Songs for George Strait

George Strait had 44 songs top the country charts. Some of his best never got there, and he still set a mark that will be hard to beat. It’s hard to imagine that “The Cowboy Rides Away,” “I Can Still Make Cheyenne” and “Amarillo By Morning” never reached the top spot. Still, 126 George Strait singles charted. That may be an even more difficult number to ever match. A whopping 86 of those hit the top ten. Only Eddy Arnold had more, and he got to 92.

George Strait’s first number one was “Fool Hearted Memory” in 1982. His most recent was “River of Love” in 2008. The last time The King hit the top ten was in 2012 with “Give it All We Got Tonight” which checked in at number seven. That one was from his album Love is Everything.

He plays most all of the number ones during his Las Vegas residency. There are still two more dates this year in December. He also has a stadium show and a couple of Fort Worth arena dates on his 2022 calendar. Check out his tour dates at his website.