On This Day: George Strait’s ‘All My Ex’s Live in Texas’ Hits No. 1 on the Charts in 1987

by Clayton Edwards

George Strait has been putting songs at the top of the charts longer than most of today’s country singers have been alive. That’s part of the reason he has so many of them. The rest of that equation is that he really knows how to pick good songs. It’s almost like Strait can hear a song and somehow know that it’s going to be a hit record. So, he has more chart-toppers than any other artist living or dead. Today, however, we’re getting in the Way Back Machine and looking at his eleventh number-one single, “All My Ex’s Live in Texas.”

George Strait released “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” on April 10, 1987. The song was the second single as well as the second chart-topper from the album Ocean Front Property. The song hit the airwaves near the beginning of a long string of number ones for Strait. It was the fourth of eleven songs in a streak that started in 1986 with “Nobody in His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her,” and ended in 1989 with “Ace in the Hole.” So, to say that George Strait was on fire at the time would be an understatement.

Now that we’ve sufficiently set the scene, let’s take a closer look at “All My Ex’s Live in Texas.”

George Strait Has a List of Reasons to Relocate

Sanger D. “Whitey,” Shafer, and his wife Lyndia co-penned the laundry list tune. Shafer cut the song and it ended up in several places. For instance, it is in the classic movie Roadhouse, the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, as well as the TV show Ash vs Evil Dead. However, the one place his version didn’t show up was on the Billboard charts. That’s why no matter who sings it, we all think of it as a George Strait song.

It’s easy to see why “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” brought George Strait another chart-topper. For one, it’s pure Western Swing. In my opinion, Strait is at his best when he swings. On top of that, it’s a fun song. It’s just a list of reasons why he had to get out of the Lone Star State. There’s a woman in every town who he’d rather not see. So, why not scoot on over to Tennessee?

You can hear a handful of Texan placenames and reasons for wanting to avoid the women who live there in this tune. However, one thing that I found really interesting comes in the second verse. George Strait sings, “ I remember that old Frio River / Where I learned to swim / But it brings to mind another time / That I wore my welcome thin / And by transcendental meditation / I go there each night…”

How many times have you heard someone sing about transcendental meditation in a country song? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the answer is 1.

It doesn’t matter where you or your former lovers live, this is a great song. So, celebrate the anniversary of it topping the charts with us, and crank this one up loud enough for the neighbors to hear. If they don’t thank you for it, you need new neighbors.