George Strait’s ‘The Chair’: A Whiskey-Fueled Story Behind the Classic Country Track

by Kayla Zadel
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Some country songs come to fruition after much inspirational thought or a life event. And others, well all it takes is a little liquid motivation. Take “The Chair” by George Strait for example.

The songwriting tale of the hit song is an interesting one. Though, we shouldn’t be surprised because some of the best music just happens naturally. Dean Dillon, the man who’s written more than 50 George Strait songs confesses how “The Chair” was written after a whiskey-fueled night.

Dillon was enlisted to write music for George Strait’s second album. During this time, Dillon was introduced to another well-known songwriter Hank Cochran.

The two had gotten together to write music. As history would have it, this is how the beginning of “The Chair” started, according to an interview Dillon did with Texas Monthly.

Dillon says that by about four in the morning, he had downed so much whiskey that he felt sober again. This was a routine that he and Cochran often found themselves in.

“I don’t know what happened, but then Hank sat down in a chair across from me, and I looked at him, picked up the guitar, struck a G chord, and started singing, ‘Well, excuse me, but I think you’ve got my chair’,” Dillon shares. “And he said, ‘Have you written that song?’ I said, ‘No.’ And he said, ‘Well, we’re about to.’ And 45 minutes later, we’d written ‘The Chair.'”

The First Part of the George Strait Hit Came Easy

Dillon goes on to tell the story. The songwriter says that the first half of the verse was written in no time. Then, he and Cochran got stuck. However, he chalks this up to being the greatest thing that happened to them.

Cochran continued fueling his mind with Pabst Blue Ribbon and took a walk outside.

“He was out there for fifteen minutes, man, until finally, he comes back in, looks at me, and goes, ‘What do you think about this? ‘Well, thank you, can I drink you a buy? Aw, listen to me, what I mean is, can I buy you a drink? Anything you please.’ When he said that, I thought to myself—and I never will forget this—I thought, man, that is either the craziest damn thing I ever heard of in my life, or this guy’s brilliant,” Dillon remembers.

Dillon thought more about more about the lyric and it started to sink in for him. He figured out what Cochran was trying to do with the verse.

“Here this guy is, so nervous about meeting this girl that he trips over his words and he gets them bass-ackwards. And I thought, man, that’s freaking brilliant for him to think that way. And so when I tell you that Hank showed me more about the craft of writing than anyone did. Because every single time my ears would always be opened,” Dillon says.

George Strait Sings the Song to Life

The George Strait song develops into a story about a man attempting to start a conversation with a beautiful woman. He tells her that she’s sitting in his chair.

As the song progresses, the talk becomes more intimate between the pair. As a matter of fact, the woman agrees to let the man drive her home. However, the most revealing part comes at the end of the song. The man confesses that it “wasn’t his chair after all.”

‘The Chair’ is a Success

The George Strait song was released in 1985 on his Something Special album. The first single quickly reached No. 1 on the country music charts.

Furthermore, the song was named by CMT as one of the 100 Greatest Country Songs.

Outsider.com