Country Throwback: Toby Keith Covers George Strait’s ‘Unwound’ During 2009 ACM Special

by Katie Maloney

Eleven years ago, Toby Keith covered George Strait’s “Unwound” during the ACM Artist of the Decade All-Star Concert

The concert honored George Strait as ACM’s artist of the decade. He was saluted by his peers as artists performed some of his biggest hits. Performers included Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and, of course, Toby Keith. In honor of Strait’s achievements, Keith performed a cover of the single, “Unwound.”

‘Unwound’ Is George Strait’s First Top-Ten Hit

Today, almost any fan can identify “Unwound” as a George Strait hit. However, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, the song was Strait’s first top-ten hit. “Unwound” was the lead single from Strait’s major-label debut album, Strait Country. “Unwound” peaked in the number six spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. The album has been certified platinum and peaked at the number 26 spot on the Top Country Albums chart. The song skyrocketed Strait to fame where he now sits as the King of Country.

George Strait’s Strait Country album

“Unwound” is about a man who realizes that the woman he previously had “wrapped around his finger,” is now leaving him. During the song Strait sings, “Give me a bottle of your very best. ‘Cause I got a problem I gotta drink off my chest…That woman that I had wrapped around my finger just come unwound.”

“Unwound” put Strait on the path to stardom. But the song was not originally intended for him. Writers Dean Dillion and Frank Dycus wrote the song for Johnny Paycheck. However, Paycheck was in jail at the time and couldn’t record the song. Strait’s producer contacted the writers to see if they had any songs that Strait could record. They offered him “Unwound,” and the rest is country music history.

Since his debut in 1981, Strait has come to hold the record for the most number one country hits of all time, with a total of 61. Additionally, he’s sold over 100 million records. Strait certainly wound up in a great spot.