Country Throwback: Reba McEntire Turned Down George Strait’s #1 Hit ‘Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind’

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

It may be hard to imagine Reba McEntire singing about Texas. But the “Does He Love You” singer was in line to sing “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind.” Ultimately, the song went to George Strait instead.

All his exes may live in Texas, but Strait’s singing about the one who got away in the ballad. Strait’s narrator longs after an ex-girlfriend who’s now with someone else in Dallas, Texas. He questions if she ever thinks about Fort Worth and by comparison him as well.

McEntire sings about heartbreak as well as any country singer out there. But it’s hard to imagine her on the song because it feels so uniquely tailored to Strait. But the road to Strait singing behind the mic was a bumpy one.

A Husband and Wife Composed George Strait’s Classic

Sanger “Whitey” Shafer and his then-wife Darlene composed “Fort Worth,” based on their hometown before moving to Nashville. The couple wanted to give a little national recognition to where they came from. Darlene used to ask Whitey, “Does Fort Worth ever cross your mind?” in conversation.

Before Strait, Moe Bandy was the first to record the song on his 1977 album. Then Keith Whitley also cut a version of the song. But it was not released at the time. During this period, the songwriters approached McEntire about turning the song into a hit. But she ultimately turned them down because the song contained a line about beer.

It’s hard to imagine McEntire singing lovingly about Texas. The country artist is a native to Oklahoma. Meanwhile, Strait is a Texas native with the state lending location and color to many of his hits. Strait decided to record the song and even named his fourth studio album after the song.

“Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” debuted at No.1 on the charts, one of many in Strait’s career.