On This Day: Alabama Releases Chart-Topping Hit ‘If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)’ in 1984

by Madison Miller

“So we dusted off our boots and put our cowboy hats on straight,” popular country band Alabama croons in their hit song “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band.)”

The song was released on July 16, 1984. The track was written by Murray Kellum and Dan Mitchell. Kellum released the song “Long Tall Texan,” which was a hit in 1963. Mitchell was a very successful songwriter who wrote everything from country music to radio jingles. He penned “Rodeo Bombeo” and “Only If There is Another You” for Moe Bandy.

The song ended up going onto the album “Roll On.” As it turns out, the song was one of the group’s greatest hits. It was Alabama’s 14th consecutive No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart. The group ended with a streak of 21 consecutive No. 1 hits.

According to SongFacts, the song features multiple references to the Bob Wills song called “Faded Love” as well as the Doug Kershaw song “Louisiana Man.” It also features “Cotton Eye Joe” references. The song traces back to the 1800s with its origins not completely known.

In many ways, the success of this track was a surprise to Alabama. Since it was on the B-Side of “I’m Not That Way Anymore,” it was generally meant to complement the featured songs.

After this album, Alabama would go on to release 15 other albums — including “American Pride,” “Twentieth Century,” “Pass It On Down,” and “In Pictures.” All in all, the group has had 33 No. 1 hits during a long and continuous career.

Alabama Anniversary Tour

After nearly five decades of releasing music, Alabama still isn’t ready to call it quits.

The band has kicked off its 50th-anniversary tour recently. They stepped on stage at the Bridgestone Arena on July 2 for two nights. It also happened to be the first full capacity concert at the venue since COVID-19 shut down live performances.

According to Billboard, the group has 25 dates scheduled all the way through February 2022. Martina McBride, Sara Evans, Travis Tritt, America, and Tracy Lawrence are all along for the ride. The very first leg of the tour closed with a co-headlining date alongside the Beach Boys in Kansas.

There is one original member that won’t be along for the ride. “Jeff is recently having more health issues from his Parkinson’s Disease that from time to time affect him and cause him not to be able to play guitar or sing. He would love to be on stage with his cousins and supports them 100% to carry on the Alabama legacy,” Tony Conway, the group’s manager, told the publication.

The next show is in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza alongside Tracy Lawrence on July 23.