Let’s take a trip back in time to the “good old days” of country music. The year was 1991 and the world was anxiously waiting for George Strait’s 11th studio album Chill of an Early Fall. By August 17th, Strait had already released the first single from the album, “If I Know Me” and it hit the top of the charts. In June, he dropped the second single “You Know Me Better Than That.”
It climbed the charts quickly on by the middle of August it became one of King George’s many chart-toppers.
“You Know Me Better Than That” exemplifies the neotraditional country style that was popular in the 90s. However, it’s the kind of song that is timeless. The lyrics, the themes, the arrangement – all of it feels just as fresh today as it did 31 years ago.
The song’s narrator is talking to his ex about his sophisticated new flame. She thinks he’s perfect in every way and has dragged him into the world of high society. This leaves him longing for simpler times with picnics and blue jeans. At the same time, he fears that his new love will start to see his flaws and it will sink his new relationship. Only George Strait could lay out his insecurities with this much charm.
“You Know Me Better Than That” Almost Didn’t Get Written
Anna Lisa Graham and Tony Haselden co-penned “You Know Me Better Than That”. However, Graham had the first verse and chorus down before they ever stepped into a room to write. She had pitched it to several co-writers, but no one wanted to work on the song. According to The Tennessean, the line “You know the me that gets lazy and fat,” turned off just about every songwriter she approached. They either wanted to change the line or cut it out altogether. Graham refused.
Finally, a frustrated Graham took the song to Russ Zaviston, the head of the publishing company for which she was writing songs. She said, “I want to read you something. Am I crazy or is this just maybe not meant to be a song?” After reading him the first verse and chorus, Zaviston “died” laughing. He told her “Oh my God. You’ve got to run that by Tony [Haselden]. Tony will absolutely love that,” and he did.
George Strait Loved It, Too
Graham said “As the song continued to develop, I started hearing George Strait singing it. I knew that George has a great sense of humor and he loved surprise lines and cleverness.” Years later, Graham got the chance to talk to Strait about the song. He told her that the line about getting lazy and fat was his favorite line in the song.