George Stait’s ‘Pure Country’: Story Behind the 1990s Country Music Hit

by Kayla Zadel
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George Strait is a man of many talents. In 1992, the Texan starred in a movie, named “Pure Country,” and also made the soundtrack to the film with the same name.

Pure Country is Strait’s thirteenth studio album, and it also consists of most of the songs sung by Dusty Chandler, Strait’s character, in the film. Additionally, the soundtrack album is his first.

The movie was mediocre at best, earning only $15 million when the budget to shoot the film was $10 million. However, the soundtrack told a different story. The Pure Country soundtrack was one of Strait’s most commercially successful albums. It sold more than 6 million copies.

Furthermore, this was the first time George Strait and record producer Tony Brown worked together. After the movie soundtrack, Brown produced all of Strait’s albums until Cold Beer Conversation. The entire album is produced by Strait and Brown, except for the main title sequence version of “Heartland.” That was produced by Steve Dorff.

What’s more, music videos were made for songs “I Cross My Heart” and “Heartland.” Both of the tracks were No. 1 hits for Strait. “When Did You Stop Loving Me,” later recorded by George Jones in 1998, was a No. 6 hit.

“Pure County” Tracklist:

  1. Heartland
  2. Baby Your Baby
  3. I Cross My Heart
  4. When Did You Stop Loving Me 
  5. She Lays It All On The Line
  6. Overnight Male
  7. Last In Love
  8. Thoughts Of A Fool
  9. The King Of Broken Hearts
  10. Where The Sidewalk Ends
  11. Heartland (featuring Strait’s son, George Strait Jr.)

More on George Strait and ‘Pure Country,’ the Movie

This is the first, and only movie, that George Strait has ever starred in. The synopsis of the movie via IMDB says Strait’s character “Dusty gets tired of all the smoke and light effects, wonders what happened to doing it the way that made him famous and happy. Takes a walk to find what seems to be missing and finds himself and his music again!”

But Strait almost turned down the film because he was worried that it would negatively affect his singing career. The idea for the film came from Elvis Presley’s manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker. Colonel tried to convince Strait that he should make movies. The two would talk about it when Strait would perform in Las Vegas, backstage. It wasn’t until Colonel made a few connections for Strait, that the King of Country Music agreed to do the movie. However, it did come with stipulations. The film producer told the writer that Strait had to do two things, sing ten songs and he had to rope something.

When it came to those songs, the title track written and composed by Steve Dorf “Heartland,” had to be reworked several times to fit George Strait. It was originally sold as a hard rock song called, “Pure Country.” This is where the title of the movie came from.

As soon as Strait heard “Heartland” and “I Cross My Heart,” he immediately wanted to use them for the movie.

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