On this day, 25 years ago, George Strait released his 1996 album, Blue Clear Sky. As his sixteenth studio album, the record is certified as triple- platinum in the U.S. for selling three million copies.
On the record, Strait gave fans hits like the title track, “Blue Clear Sky,” “Carried Away,” and “I Can Still Make Cheyenne.” As one of Strait’s most beloved albums, he won the esteemed award for “Album of the Year” at the CMAs, ACMs, and AMAs.
His hit single, “Blue Clear Sky,” was released a month before the album in March of 1996. Not only is it a standout hit for Strait’s career, but it also has ties to a Hollywood actor: Tom Hanks.
Bob DiPiero, John Jarrard, and Mark D. Sanders co-wrote “Clear Blue Sky,” but it all began when DiPiero’s first watched Hanks’ box office film, Forrest Gump.
“In the movie, Forrest talks about ‘life is like a box of chocolates.’ And also, he was talking about his girlfriend, Jenny, and how she would come and go out of his life,” DiPiero told The Boot. “At one point, he says, ‘And out of the blue clear sky, Jenny came back.’ And I was listening, thinking, ‘Hey! It’s ‘clear blue sky,’ it’s not ‘blue clear sky!’ Just that little turn of phrase stuck in my head.”
The Story Behind George Strait’s ‘Blue Clear Sky,’ the Single
Inspired, the songwriter met up with Jarrard and Sanders the next day, and he told them about his idea for a song. “And they said, ‘Well, that’s backwards!'” DiPiero says with a laugh. “I said, ‘I know that’… and we wrote it anyway!”
Just one month after the songwriters recorded a demo, Strait’s producer called and said they wanted to record the song, but Strait needed some clarification.
“I’m from Texas … and Texas is clear blue sky,” DiPiero says Strait said at the time. “You think it ought to be ‘clear blue sky?'”
DiPiero recalls, “I told him the song is all about just giving up on love, and then out of nowhere, out of the blue clear sky, comes the love of your life. And George was kind of quiet for a while, and then he says, ‘Well, you think there’s many Gumpsters out there?’ [Laughs] And I said, ‘Well, yeah, I do!’ And he says, ‘Well, all right then, we’ll be Gumpsters!'”
Like the film, which is one of America’s most beloved movies, George Strait’s album and its single was also a hit.