On This Day: George Strait Scores 30th No. 1 Hit With ‘Carried Away’ in 1996

by Jim Casey

George Strait topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for the 30th time when “Carried Away” reached No. 1 on Aug. 10, 1996. The tune was one of the biggest country hits of the year, spending three weeks atop the chart.

George released his 16th studio album, Blue Clear Sky, on April 23, 1996. The album was buoyed by its lead single—and title track—which ascended to the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in June 1996. For the album’s sophomore single, George released “Carried Away” on June 3.

Carried to the Top

Penned by Steve Boggard and Jeff Stevens, “Carried Away” climbed to the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in nine weeks. While “Carried Away” marked his 30th No. 1 on the chart, the King of Country wasn’t finished with his reign. George scored an additional 14 chart-topping hits over the next dozen years, bringing his tally to 44 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

And it wasn’t the last time George utilized the songwriting prowess of Boggard and Stevens. George carried the songwriting tandem’s “Carrying Your Love With Me” to No. 1 in 1997, while also recording “Why Not Now” in 1998 and “I Look at You” in 1999.

“The pinnacle of country music is George Strait,” said Steve Boggard to Country Weekly in 1999. “You write, and you think in the back of your mind, ‘Is this good enough to be a George Strait cut?’ You’re shooting for the top. George is the ultimate interpreter of songs. He’s country music’s Frank Sinatra. I can tell that Sinatra was his idol, because his whole goal is communicating the emotions of the song.”

“Obviously, it’s financially rewarding, but when you feel like you’ve written a great song, the only way for it to get its real due, for it to come out the way you wanted it, is for a great singer to sing it,” noted Jeff Stevens. “And George is simply the best.”

“[It’s] like having John Wayne do a scene for your movie,” added Steve.

George Takes Home the Hardware

“Carried Away” also helped George carry home a handful of awards.

The CMA and ACM Awards named Blue Clear Sky the Album of the Year in 1996. George also took home the trophies for CMA Male Artist of the Year and ACM Top Male Vocalist in 1996.

In addition, “Carried Away” earned a nomination for Single of the Year at the 1997 CMA Awards. Interestingly enough, the tune was pitted against four other songs, including George’s 1997 No. 1 hit, “One Night at a Time.” Ultimately, Deana Carter bested both tunes with her smash hit, “Strawberry Wine.”

The RIAA certified Blue Clear Sky aa 3X Platinum in 1999 for sales of 3 million units.