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Out of all the new country singers to emerge in the early '80s, George Strait stayed the closest to traditional country. Drawing from both the honky tonk and Western swing traditions, Strait didn't refashion the genres; instead, he revitalized them for a new decade. In the process, he became one of the most popular and influential singers of the decade, sparking a wave of neo-traditionalist singers from Randy Travis and Dwight Yoakam to Clint Black, Garth Brooks, and Alan Jackson.
Strait was born and raised in Texas, the son of a junior high school teacher who also owned and operated a ranch that had been in the Strait family for nearly 100 years. When George was a child, his mother left the family, taking her daughter but leaving her sons behind with their father. During his childhood, he would spend his weekdays in town and his weekends on the ranch. Strait began playing music as a teenager, joining a rock & roll garage band. After his high school graduation in the late '60s, he enrolled in college but soon dropped out and eloped with his high school sweetheart, Norma. In 1971, Strait enlisted in the Army; two years later, he was stationed in Hawaii. While there, he began playing country music, initially with an Army-sponsored country band called Rambling Country. They played several dates off the base under the name Santee. Strait left the Army in 1975, returning to Texas with the intent of completing his education. He enrolled in Southwest Texas State University at San Marcos, where he studied agriculture. While he was studying, he formed his own country band, Ace in the Hole.
Ace in the Hole made a few records for the independent Dallas-based label D in the late '70s, but they never went anywhere. Toward the end of the decade, Strait attempted to carve out a niche in Nashville, but he failed since he lacked any strong connections. In 1979, he became friends with Erv Woolsey, a Texas club owner who had formerly worked for MCA Records. Woolsey had several MCA executives come down to Texas to hear Strait. His performance convinced the company to sign him in 1980. "Unwound," Strait's first single, was released in the spring of 1981 and climbed into the Top Ten. The follow-up, "Down and Out," stalled at 16, but "If You're Thinking You Want a Stranger (There's One Coming Home)" reached number three in early 1982. The song sparked a remarkable string of Top Ten hits that ran well into the '90s. During that time he had an astonishing 31 number one singles, beginning with 1982's "Fool Hearted Memory."
Throughout the '80s, he dominated the country singles charts, and his albums consistently went platinum or gold. Strait rarely abandoned hardcore honky tonk and Western swing -- toward the beginning of the '90s, his sound became a little slicker, but it was only a relative change. Strait was also one of the few '80s superstars to survive the generational shift of the early '90s that began with the phenomenal success of Garth Brooks. In 1992, he made his first movie, Pure Country, which featured him in the lead role. Strait released a four-disc box set career retrospective, Strait Out of the Box, in 1995. By the spring of 1996, it had become one of the five biggest-selling box sets in popular music history. Blue Clear Sky, his 1996 album, debuted on the country charts at number one and the pop charts at number seven. In 1997, he released Carrying Your Love with Me, following it with One Step at a Time in 1998. Always Never the Same appeared a year later, as did the seasonal effort Merry Christmas Wherever You Are. The simply titled George Strait, featuring the hit single "Go On," hit the shelves in late 2000.
Did Strait slow down? Nah. The following year saw the release of The Road Less Traveled, which qualified as an experimental album of sorts for the veteran performer. While it didn't stray very far from his new traditionalist country sound, Road did include a foray into vocal processing that was about as country as a pair of stiletto-healed cowboy boots. But the experimentation was welcome, for it revealed that Strait was still hungry, even after millions upon millions of records sold. Strait issued two projects in 2003. For the Last Time: Live from the Astrodome chronicled his headlining set at the last Houston Livestock and Rodeo ever held in the big Texas dome, while Honkytonkville was a fiery set of hard country, lauded by critics for its mixture of the old Strait with his modern, superstar self. Somewhere Down in Texas arrived in 2005, followed by It Just Comes Natural in 2006, and Troubadour and the holiday album Classic Christmas in 2008. Twang, co-produced by Strait and Tony Brown, appeared in 2009. Strait co-wrote seven of the eleven songs (sharing credits with Dean Dillon, Bobby Boyd, and his son, Bubba Strait) on 2011's Here for a Good Time, his 39th studio album, which was co-produced by Strait and Brown and recorded at Jimmy Buffett's Shrimpboat Sound Studio in Key West, Florida.
Here for a Good Time gave Strait two more Top 10 singles -- "Here for a Good Time" and "Love's Gonna Make It Alright" both missed the top of the charts, peaking at two and three, respectively -- and about a year after its release, Strait announced that he was retiring from touring. He planned one last tour, called The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, beginning in 2013 and ending in 2014. Just before this farewell journey kicked off, Strait released a new album, Love Is Everything, in May of 2013; it was preceded by the single "Give It All We Got Tonight."
George Harvey Strait (born May 18, 1952) is an American country music singer, actor, and music producer known as the "King of Country" and one of the most influential and popular recording artists of all time. He is known for his neotraditionalist country style, cowboy look, and being one of the first and main country artists to bring country music back to its roots and away from the pop country era in the 1980s.
Strait's success began when his first single "Unwound" was a hit in 1981. During the 1980s, seven of his albums reached number one on the country charts. In the 2000s, Strait was named Artist of the Decade by the Academy of Country Music, was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and won his first Grammy award for the album Troubadour. Strait was named CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1989, 1990 and 2013, and ACM Entertainer of the Year in 1990 and 2014. He has been nominated for more CMA and ACM awards and has more wins in both categories than any other artist. In 2009, he broke Conway Twitty's previous record for the most number-one hits on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart when his 44 number one singles surpassed Twitty's 40. Counting all music charts, Strait has amassed a total of 60 number-one hits, breaking a record also previously set by Twitty, and giving him more number one songs than any other artist.
Strait has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. His certifications from the RIAA include 13 multi-platinum, 33 platinum, and 38 gold albums. His best-selling album is Pure Country (1992), which sold 6 million (6× platinum). His highest certified album is Strait Out of the Box (1995), which sold 2 million copies (8× Platinum due to being a box set with four CDs). According to the RIAA, Strait is the 12th best-selling album recording artist in the United States overall.Cite error: The named reference cp-villalva was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference bego was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference billboard-2010 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference radio-60 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference dmn-tipping was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
George Harvey Strait was born on May 18, 1952, in Poteet, in Atascosa County, south of San Antonio, Texas, to John Byron Strait, Sr. (January 11, 1922 - died June 4, 2013), and the former Doris Couser. (June 26, 1930 - died January 30, 2010), He grew up in Pearsall, in Frio County, where his father was a junior high school mathematics teacher and the owner of a 2,000-acre (8 km²) cattle ranch outside of Big Wells, Texas. The family worked at the ranch on the weekends and in the summers. When George was in the fourth grade, his father and mother were divorced, and his mother moved away with his sister, Pency. George and his brother John, Jr., or "Buddy" (1950-2009), were raised by their father.
Strait began his musical interest while attending Pearsall High School, where he played in a rock and roll garage band. The Beatles were popular when Strait was in high school. "The Beatles were big", Strait confirmed. "I listened to them a lot and that whole bunch of groups that were popular then". His musical preference soon turned to country with singers Hank Thompson, Lefty Frizzell, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Bob Wills, Hank Williams, and Frank Sinatra influencing his style. Strait did not tune to the country music radio often as a youth, usually listening to the news and the farmer's report. His introduction to country music came mostly by way of live performances, which, according to Strait, could be heard in every town in Texas. He eloped with his high school sweetheart, Norma. The couple initially married in Mexico on December 4, 1971. That same year, he enlisted in the United States Army. While stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii as a part of the 25th Infantry Division, Strait began performing with a U.S. Army-sponsored band, "Rambling Country", which played off-base under the name "Santee". On October 6, 1972, while still in Hawaii, George and Norma had their first child, Jenifer.
After Strait was honorably discharged from the Army in 1975, he enrolled at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos and graduated with a degree in agriculture. During his college years, he joined the country band Stoney Ridge, answering a flyer the band posted around campus looking for a new vocalist. Strait renamed the group the Ace in the Hole Band and quickly became the lead; they began to perform at different honky tonks and bars around south and central Texas, traveling as far east as Huntsville and Houston. They gained a regional following and opened for national acts such as The Texas Playboys. Soon, his band was given the opportunity to record several Strait-penned singles including "That Don't Change The Way I Feel About You", for the Houston-based D label. However, the songs never achieved wide recognition, and Strait continued to manage his family cattle ranch during the day in order to make some extra cash.
While he continued to play with his band, without any real connections to the music industry, Strait became friends with Erv Woolsey, who operated one of the bars in which the Ace in the Hole band played, and who had previously worked for the major label MCA Records. Woolsey convinced some of his Music Row (Nashville, TN) connections to come to Texas and to listen to Strait and his band play. Impressed with the performance, MCA quickly signed Strait to a recording contract in February 1981. The Ace in the Hole band remained with Strait, performing as the backup and touring band for the now solo act.Cite error: The named reference cmt-father was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference cmt-about was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference usa-mccafferty was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference album-notes-box was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference erlewine was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference billboard-1981 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
ContentsMusic career1.1 1980s1.2 1990s1.3 2000–present1.4 The Cowboy Rides Away Tour
In the spring of 1981, Strait released his first single for MCA Records, entitled "Unwound", which climbed into the top ten of the Hot Country Songs chart that year, and was included on his debut album Strait Country. The record featured two more singles including "Down and Out", a No. 16 hit for Strait, and "If You're Thinking You Want a Stranger (There's One Coming Home)", which reached number three early in 1982, sparking a string of Top Ten hits that ran well into the 1990s. Strait Country was hailed by critics as a traditionalist breakthrough that broke the trend of pop-influenced country prevalent at the time. The year 1982 also saw the release of Strait's second album, the critically acclaimed Strait from the Heart, which featured the first number one single of his career, "Fool Hearted Memory", and the top five "Amarillo by Morning", regarded by many as one of the greatest country songs of all-time. In 1983, Strait made his first appearance at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo when the headlining star, Eddie Rabbitt, came down sick with the flu. Strait has since become a mainstay throughout his career, making more than twenty appearances at the Rodeo, and playing to a total of more than one million fans. Strait recorded 17 subsequent No. 1's in the decade, including a string of five that lasted from 1983–84 from his next two albums Right or Wrong, his first number one album and the CMA award-winning Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind. The next year, he won the CMA award for top male vocalist, and released his first Greatest hits compilation, which featured songs from his first three albums. Also in 1985, Strait released Something Special, the third straight number-one album of his career, featuring the number-one single "The Chair". In 1986, Strait repeated as the CMA vocalist of the year and released his fourth No. 1 album #7. Strait and his family were struck with tragedy when his 13-year-old daughter, Jenifer, was killed in a one-car non-alcohol-related accident. She was riding in a Ford Mustang driven by Gregory Wilson Allen, 18, of Staples, Texas. He was subsequently charged with a Class A misdemeanor for vehicular homicide. Mike Cox, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety in Austin, said "The responding trooper determined the cause of accident to be excessive speed and that the car did not negotiate the turn properly. Jenifer was riding in the front passengers seat and none of the four occupants were wearing seat belts at the time. When the vehicle flipped over onto its passenger's side, Jenifer was partially ejected, causing her to be dead upon impact. The incident did not hinder Strait's performance, as he went on to release 11 straight No. 1 hits, starting with "Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her" in 1986 and ending with "Ace in the Hole" in 1989. The singles spanned four albums, including #7, Ocean Front Property in 1987, If You Ain't Lovin' You Ain't Livin' in 1988 and 1989's Beyond the Blue Neon, all of which reached the number one spot on country album charts. Ocean Front Property was the first country album to ever debut at No. 1 on the charts by any artist. The streak included such songs as "Ocean Front Property", "All My Ex's Live in Texas", "Famous Last Words of a Fool" and "Baby Blue". Strait finished the decade by winning the CMA Entertainer of the Year award in 1989. A year later, he won the award again.
Strait began the decade with the release of his tenth studio album, Livin' It Up, which featured two No. 1 hits including "Love Without End, Amen", his first multi-week hit, and "I've Come to Expect It From You". Both songs remained No. 1 for five weeks in 1990. Chill of an Early Fall shortly followed in 1991, and received positive reviews. Entertainment Weekly noted that the album marked a shift for Strait from "repeating himself" in his previous works to producing different material. It produced the No. 1's "If I Know Me" and "You Know Me Better Than That", but ended his streak of 31 straight top ten hits with the cover of "Lovesick Blues", which peaked at No. 24. The record blocked his run of eight top charting albums with its peak of No. 4. In the spring of 1992, Holding My Own was released. It did not produce any No. 1s but did include two top five songs including "So Much Like My Dad".
Later in 1992, Strait played the main character in the movie Pure Country, and released the film's soundtrack. It was his most successful studio album, producing such hits as "Heartland", "I Cross My Heart", and "When Did You Stop Loving Me", and peaked at No. 1 and No. 6 respectively on the Country and Billboard 200 album charts. The success continued with his next album, Easy Come, Easy Go in 1993, which reached the top five on the Billboard 200 and featured the hits "I'd Like to Have That One Back", "The Man in Love with You", and the No. 1 title track. His next four albums, including Lead On in 1994, Blue Clear Sky in 1996, Carrying Your Love with Me in 1997, and 1998's One Step at a Time, all charted at No. 1, with Blue Clear Sky claiming the spot on its debut week, and Carrying Your Love with Me peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for the first time in Strait's career. This series of albums produced eight number one singles for Strait, including "You Can't Make a Heart Love Somebody", "Carried Away", "One Night at a Time", and "I Just Want to Dance with You". During this period, Strait also released a four-disc box set career retrospective, Strait Out of the Box, in 1995, which became the second-best-selling box set ever with shipments of 8 million in the United States. He also was named as the CMA's Top Male Vocalist in 1997 and 1998. Starting in '97, and continuing until the first year of the 21st century, Strait headlined the George Strait Country Music Festival, which included artists such has Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, and others. In an effort to introduce these acts to as many fans as possible, the festival promised not to visit any market more than twice. It played only a small number of dates, usually no more than twenty a year, but still managed to be the ninth-biggest-grossing tour of 1998. In 2009, the George Strait Country Music Festival was voted the most important tour in the history of country music and the best selling country music tour in the 90s.
Strait completed the decade with the album Always Never the Same in 1999, which peaked at No. 2 on country charts and matched the cross-over success of Pure Country by reaching No. 6 on the Billboard 200. The record produced the hits "What Do You Say to That", "Meanwhile", and the No. 1 "Write This Down". Reviews of the album's material were generally moderate, but Entertainment Weekly observed that at this point in his career, Strait could record the "most lightweight" material and "make it soar" on the radio with his "grace". All in all, Strait scored 17 No. 1 hits on the Billboard country airplay charts in the decade, and carried his successes into the next century.
Strait released a self-named album in 2000, which despite a No. 1 and No. 7 showing on the country and Billboard 200 album charts, produced no No. 1 singles, and was the first studio album of his career to not be certified as platinum. The singles "Go On" and "If You Can Do Anything Else" were released from the record, with both peaking in the top five. In May 2001, The Road Less Traveled was released. Reviews for the album were mostly positive, Rolling Stone described it as sticking to the formula "but adds a few twists that make it superior to his last few releases." It featured "vocal processing", and was considered by some critics as an experimental album. Three singles were released from it, two of which reached No. 1, including "She'll Leave You with a Smile", his 50th on combined charts and "Living and Living Well", both of which reached the top 30 of Billboard Hot 100, with the former peaking at No. 23, Strait's highest rank on the chart. The single "Run" peaked at No. 2 and reached No. 34 on the Billboard 100. Strait released two records in 2003. For the Last Time: Live from the Astrodome was a recording of the last Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to take place in the Astrodome. The performance itself, set the record for paid attendance at the venue, with 68,266 people, breaking Latin superstar Selena's previous record of approximately 67,000 in 1995. His next album, Honkytonkville was described as "a fiery set of hard country", and was praised "for its mixture of the old Strait with his modern, superstar self." It didn't produce any No. 1's for Strait but included the hits "Cowboys Like Us" and a cover of Bruce Robison's "Desperately". His 2004 performance at Reliant Stadium set a new Rodeo attendance record, with 68,679 spectators. That year he issued a Greatest Hits package billed as 50 Number Ones, chronicling the No. 1 hits of his career from all charts, starting with "Fool Hearted Memory" and ending with "She'll Leave You With a Smile." A new track, "I Hate Everything", was also included, and became his 51st overall Number One in 2004. The next year, Somewhere Down in Texas arrived, which produced the hit "You'll Be There," marking Strait's first appearance on the Adult Contemporary chart. The next year, he embarked on a tour that included only 18 performances but grossed over $15 million. He attributed this success to the fact that he and his band are "musically very tight," have a large pool of songs to draw from, and perform those songs very similarly to how they sound on their albums.
On October 3, 2006, Strait marked his 30th year in the music industry with the release of a new album titled It Just Comes Natural. The album was recorded in Key West, Fla. in Jimmy Buffett's Shrimp Boat Sound Studio (said to be a better recording location due to lack of allergy flare ups during recording process), which was also the recording location of "Troubadour". It featured fifteen new songs. Strait's long-time friend and songwriter, Dean Dillon co-wrote two of the songs on the album. It received generally positive reviews from critics. People, in their four-star review, remarked that "If ever there was a natural in country music, it's Strait," while USA Today raved that "he continues to make such consistent quality look easy". The first single from the album, "Give It Away" reached No. 1 and the title track, "It Just Comes Natural" became his 42nd Billboard No. 1. In 2007, "Wrapped" reached No. 1 on the Mediabase 24/7 country music charts, giving Strait his 55th overall number-one single. From January through April of that year, Strait headlined a 23-date arena tour with country music legend Ronnie Milsap and newcomer Taylor Swift. He released a new album titled Troubadour on April 1, 2008. The CD contained 12 tracks, including a duet with Patty Loveless and another with long-time songwriter Dean Dillon. The lead single from the album, "I Saw God Today", debuted at No. 19 on the Radio and Records and Billboard charts. It is the highest debut ever for a single from Strait and the fourth highest debut for a song in country music history. Troubadour debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts, selling over 160,000 copies in its first week of release. "River of Love" the 3rd single from the album became his 57th number-one song in 2009.
In April 2009, George Strait was honored by the Academy of Country Music with the Artist of the Decade Award, which was presented to Strait by the previous ACM Artist of the Decade, Garth Brooks. In June of that year he headlined the first event at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Strait's single "Living for the Night" was released on May 28, 2009, and was written by Strait, his son Bubba, and Dean Dillon. The song was the lead single from his album Twang, released on August 11, 2009. Twang was certified gold for selling over 500,000 copies. In 2010, Billboard ranked Strait No. 1 in the top 25 country artists of the past 25 years.
On September 6, 2011, Strait released the album, Here for a Good Time, which yielded two No. 1 singles—"Here for a Good Time" and "Love's Gonna Make It Alright"—bringing Strait's No. 1 singles total to 59. The album's third single, "Drinkin' Man", was less successful, peaking at No. 37.
In October 2012, Strait released the single "Give It All We Got Tonight", which was included on his current album Love Is Everything, released on May 14, 2013. The song initiated a "60 for 60" movement by Strait's label, to make the song his sixtieth number-one single on all country charts while he was still 60 years old. The song reached the top of the Mediabase charts in May 2013. The album's next single "I Believe" reached No. 50 on The U.S. Country Airplay chart, making it Strait's first single to miss the Top 40. Strait won the 2013 CMA Entertainer of the Year award.
In November 2013, Billboard magazine presented Strait with its Legend of Live honor during the 10th annual Billboard Touring Awards ceremony. The award honors the concert industry's top artist based on Billboard's Boxscore chart and box office performance. Strait is the first country artist to receive Billboard magazine's highest touring accolade.
The Cowboy Rides Away TourMain article: The Cowboy Rides Away Tour
On September 26, 2012, Strait announced that he was retiring from touring, and that his Cowboy Rides Away Tour would be his last. The tour started on January 18, 2013 in Lubbock, Texas and is divided into two legs: 21 concerts in 2013 and 26 concerts in 2014, for a total of 47 concerts. The tour ended in Arlington, Texas on June 7, 2014. Strait was supported on the tour by his longtime eleven-member touring group, the Ace in the Hole Band. For the 2013 leg, Martina McBride was the opening performer. On January 9, 2014, Strait initiated the second leg of the tour, which featured the opening performers Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, Lee Ann Womack, Merle Haggard, Chris Young, Ronnie Dunn, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, and Asleep at the Wheel. Many of these performers gathered together for the tour's final concert in Arlington, Texas, before 104,793 fans—the largest attendance at a single-show concert in the United States. The concert also set a record for the largest gross at a single-show country concert, $18,194,374.
A live album recorded from the final concert in Arlington titled The Cowboy Rides Away: Live from AT&T Stadium was released on September 16, 2014, with a dvd of the concert being released on November 10th, 2014, with Wal-mart exclusively releasing a deluxe edition including the cd as well. On August 29, 2014, the Country Music Television channel broadcast a two-hour concert special of the event titled George Strait: The Cowboy Rides Away.Cite error: The named reference allmusic-erlewine was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference usatoday-ny was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference cmt-lp-discography was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference philly-daughter was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference straight-fever was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference ew-nash was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference cmt-about was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference rs-dresdale was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference erlewine was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference gactv-stark was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference cmt-morris was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference billboard-2009 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference gs-give was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference boot-thompson was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference cmt-legend was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference music-row-hollabaugh was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference usatoday-mansfield was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "The Cowboy Rides Away Tour which is said to have Martina McBride open for 20 shows.". Retrieved 2012-09-246. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) Skates, Sarah (September 26, 2012). "George Strait Announces Final Tour". MusicRow. Retrieved September 26, 2012. "George Strait Tour - 2013 and 2014 George Strait Concert Tour Dates". Georgestraittourdates.com. Retrieved 2013-05-14. Duffy, Thom (March 3, 2014). "George Strait, Martina McBride Turn New Jersey Into Cowboy Country". Billboard. Retrieved March 4, 2014. Allen, Bob (June 16, 2014). "George Strait's Final Show Sets Billboard Boxscore Attendance Records". Billboard. Retrieved December 25, 2014. Stefano, Angela (August 18, 2014). "George Strait Announces 'The Cowboy Rides Away' Live Album". The Boot. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
In 1981, George and Norma's son, George Strait, Jr., known as "Bubba", was born. Their daughter Jenifer (born October 6, 1972) was killed in an automobile accident in San Marcos on June 25, 1986, at the age of 13. The family set up the Jenifer Lynn Strait Foundation, which donates money to children's charities in the San Antonio area. Bubba, who is a graduate of Texas A&M in College Station, is pursuing a career as a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) team roping competitor. Strait was able to watch his son compete at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 2006 shortly before taking the stage for his own performance.
Strait enjoys hunting, fishing, skiing, playing golf, and riding motorcycles. Along with his son, he is a member of the PRCA and partners in team roping competitions. George and his elder brother John Jr., known as Buddy, hosted the annual George Strait Team Roping Classic, in which they competed against some of the best team ropers in the world. Strait has also said that he very seldom picks up a guitar when not in the studio or touring. He and his wife live in northwest San Antonio, as well as on a ranch near Cotulla in La Salle County between San Antonio and Laredo. Strait is a fan of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs and can be seen court-side at many of the Spurs' home basketball games.
Since 2010, Strait has served as spokesman for the Wrangler National Patriot program, a campaign designed to raise awareness and funds for America's wounded and fallen military veterans and their families. Strait states, "I've been a part of the Wrangler family for a long time... when they came to me with the idea for supporting fallen and wounded American veterans and their families, I knew I wanted to get involved." In February 2012, Strait became a grandfather, as his son George Strait, Jr., and his wife, Tamara, had their first child, a son. According to reports, the infant was named George H. Strait, III, as a tribute to his famous grandfather. The grandson is known as Harvey, from his common middle name shared with his father and grandfather.
George Strait owns a Bombardier Challenger 300 jet, MSN 20132, and carries a personal registration N518GS. His personal aircraft is housed at the Landmark Aviation facility in San Antonio.
Strait was raised in the Baptist Church. He is believed to be a Republican but does not discuss political issues in public."Jenifer Strait". RachelJoyScott.net. Retrieved 2007-03-15. "Strait Heir". Retrieved 2012-09-246. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)  "George Strait Remembers Fellow Veterans". 2011-11-02. Retrieved 2011-11-13. Garner, Blair (February 8, 2012). "George Strait is a grandfather". After Midnight. Retrieved February 10, 2012. "George Strait's CL30 visits Shannon". flightglobal.com. July 10, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2009. "The religion and political views of the influentials: George Strait". hollowverse.com. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
Strait has acted in several films. He had a bit part in The Soldier (1982) and starred in Pure Country (1992). He also appeared as himself in Grand Champion (2002).
The film Pure Country featured George Strait in the lead role as Dusty Chandler, a famous country singer who strays too far from his country roots and traditional sound. It provided the opportunity for Strait to branch out from his own traditional country sound for a more rock-and-roll approach. The film saw little success at the box office, taking in only $15 million, but the soundtrack, also called Pure Country, produced several hit singles for Strait, and has become his best-selling album to date. Strait had a limited role in the sequel to Pure Country, Pure Country 2: The Gift.CMT News. "George Strait Will Have Limited Role in New Film, A Pure Country Gift". MTV Networks. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
Strait holds the record for most number one albums, gold albums, platinum albums, and multi-platinum in the history of country music, and is eleventh in the most number one albums in all other genres. Strait is third only to Elvis Presley and The Beatles with the most gold and platinum albums in the history of music. Strait has been certified as the twelfth best selling artist in American history, with career album sales of 70 million.
Strait has recorded the most number one songs and top five songs in the history of music of any kind, and is the only artist in the history of music of any kind to have a top ten hit every year for thirty years. He is also second all-time in top ten hits in the history of music, currently 5 away from breaking the all time record held by Eddy Arnold who had 92 in his historic career. Strait has also won 22 CMA Awards, including consecutive Entertainer of the Year honors in 1989 and 1990, and also just recently won that same honor in 2013 and holds the career record for CMA nominations (as a whole) and the most consecutively of all time.As of 2009 he holds the record for the most CMA awards. Strait also holds those same records for wins and nominations for the ACM Awards. Strait was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006, performing his then-latest No. 1 hit "Give it Away" right before accepting his replica Hall of Fame plaque at the 40th CMA Awards. He was only the second artist (after Eddy Arnold in 1966) to be inducted into the Hall of Fame while still actively recording and producing chart-topping hits and albums.
As of June 8, 2010, George Strait was named the top country music artist of the past 25 years according to Billboard magazine. In October 2008, the Academy of Country Music Awards named Strait their Artist of the Decade for the 2000s. He was presented the award by the previous winner Garth Brooks. Past winners of the award are Marty Robbins (1960s), Loretta Lynn (1970s), Alabama (1980s) and Garth Brooks (1990s). And with the win of the entertainer of the year award in 2013 he is the only artist to ever win the entertainer of the year in three different decades and also was the oldest winner. The win is currently the longest span between wins for that award as well. Strait is also tied with Merle Haggard for the most male vocalist of the year awards.
On June 1, 2013, Strait appeared in The Alamodome before seventy thousand fans in the last concert of the first half of his two-year farewell tour. Governor Rick Perry, who was in attendance with First Lady Anita Thigpen Perry, announced that henceforth May 18, Strait's birthday, would be "George Strait Day" in Texas.Betts, Stephen L. (June 4, 2009). "George Strait Catching Up to Beatles, Elvis". The Boot. Retrieved November 2, 2012. "George Strait Sets Billboard Record". Gather. April 14, 2010. Retrieved November 2, 2012. "Meet George Strait: Awards". George Strait. Retrieved December 19, 2012. "Hector Saldaña, "On farewell tour, superstar George Strait in harmony with hometown fans: Country legend wows packed Alamodome", June 2, 2013". mysantonio.com. Retrieved June 5, 2013.