On This Day: George Strait Records First-Ever Top-Ten Hit, ‘Unwound’

by Quentin Blount

Country music legend George Strait made his major-label debut in 1981 with his hit song, “Unwound.”

The handsome young singer from Texas had already made a few songs prior to “Unwound’s” release. However, those songs were not attached to an album and unfortunately were not to be included in the country charts. Everything changed for the young singer with the release of “Unwound.”

The hit song was released as the lead single from Strait’s debut album Strait Country. It went on to peak at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart — ultimately becoming Strait’s first top-ten hit.

In the song’s lyrics, Strait sings about going out drinking when his relationship starts to unravel.

Yeah I’m gonna be the drunkest fool in town
‘Cause that woman that I had wrapped around my finger
Just come unwound

The video below shows a young George Strait performing “Unwound” on a boat after it was first released. It’s easy to see how Strait went on to become The King of Country Music. Have a look for yourself:


The classic song instantly put George Strait on the map as a country star. In peaking at No. 6 on the chart, the door was open for Strait to have never-ending success.

Story Behind George Strait Song ‘Unwound’

There’s no question that George Strait owes a lot to his debut song “Unwound.” But if it wasn’t for the success of that song, and Strait’s ensuing stardom, there’s no telling just how his career would have turned out.

The song was co-written by Dean Dillon and Frank Dycus. Dillon spoke to Texas Monthly after moving to Nashville in 1973, recalling that Dycus was the first songwriter he came across. He was going over the song idea at Nashville’s Third Coast bar when Dycus walked through the door. The rest is history.

“We wrote this song. I can’t even remember it. It was so bad,” Dillon recalled. “I’m really depressed because the song’s horrible until Dycus came.”

“I said, ‘Man, I’ve got a great song idea. Let’s write it,'” he continued. “He said, ‘What is it?’ I said, ‘She’s got me wrapped around her finger, but tonight I’m gonna unwind.’ And he looked at me and thought for a minute, and he said, ‘What about this: ‘That woman that I had wrapped around my finger just came unwound?”

“And I said, ‘Well, hell, I like that better,'” Dillon added. “So we sat down at a table on that patio and wrote a song called ‘Unwound’ in about forty-five minutes. And got good and drunk doing it.”

The song was originally written for country singer Johnny Paycheck. However, Paycheck was in jail at the time. As a result, Dillon wound up teaming with George Strait. The two made an incredible duo — Dylan went on to compose or co-write 55 songs for Strait, including 19 singles, 11 of which went to No. 1.