George Strait fans, let’s take a time stroll to 1983, back when the King of Country was on the verge of something really, really big.
Strait had released his second studio album. He made his first-ever appearance at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Strait had a No. 1 hit in Fool Hearted Memory. And nine months later, he released Amarillo By Morning.
Dressed in his cowboy hat and starched Wranglers, Strait sang his ode to the life of the rodeo cowboy on Hee Haw, the country music variety show hosted by Buck Owens and Roy Clark.
The George Strait official Twitter account posted a video clip, Tuesday, asking “Who remembers when George was on Hee Haw.”
So many fans of George Strait did recall their favorite singer appearing on the show. As one replied “Just remembering Hee Haw is a dead give away to our age. lol.”
Hee Haw, however, was a classic TV show. It was the countrified version of Laugh In. And all the great country performers wanted to be on the show.
CBS featured the show from 1969-71, with its famous intro.
Hee Haw ran in syndication from 1971-93, then TNN carried it until 1997. The show was taped at locations in Nashville.
George Strait Sang Two Songs and Did a Comedy Quip in the Cornfield
So someone like George Strait definitely would make a Hee Haw stop. The show featured at least two country performers each episode. Loretta Lynn, with 24 appearances, was the top guest star.
George Strait also got to do a comic routine in the cornfield with one of the Hee Haw beauties. Wearing a pair of overalls — this was Hee Haw — Strait joked about his college life.
“About the only thing I learned,” Strait quipped, “was how to appreciate the two-party system… yeah, one party Friday night and one party Saturday night.”
Strait also performed A Fire I Can’t Put Out. The Statler Brothers, who performed so many times with Johnny Cash, also appeared on this Hee Haw episode. They sang Guilty and Oh Baby Mine.
Now, about George Strait and Amarillo By Morning. It’s one of his classics, if not his signature song. Terry Stafford and Paul Fraser wrote the song a decade before Strait made it famous. Stafford said he was inspired to write it after he and his band performed at a rodeo in San Antonio. Then they needed to drive to Amarillo by morning. Anyone who knows Texas well realizes that’s a haul. The two cities are 510 miles away. The song was about the difficult life of a rodeo cowboy, so driving late at night was part of it.
George Strait’s cover of Amarillo By Morning soared to No. 4 on the Billboard Country chart.
No matter when the song was released, it’s always a good day when George Strait and Amarillo By Morning comes on the radio.