George Strait’s Legacy Can Be Summed Up In One Word
There are so many things that can be said about George Strait and his amazing career, and longevity, that should be recognized.
From having over 60 number one hits to now having the largest indoor attendance record, "The King of Country Music" sure has made a name that will forever be legendary and at the top of the list of country royalty.
However, when the final chapters are written about George Strait's life and career, there are some things that won't be said.
Being in this business for 18 years has taught me that people love a good story, and, mostly, it is the hardest-hitting, juiciest and most drama-filled stories that make headlines. You don't have to be a marketing or journalism major to know that scandals sell magazines and generate the most web traffic.
I've never really understood -- or better yet, never have really cared enough about -- someone's personal issues that I want to know the entire story behind the rumors I have heard or read. When a celebrity couple breaks up or some scandalous photos hit Twitter, I've never been the kind of guy that really cares to know everything.
True, because of the nature of what I do for a living, I have to report the stories that are getting the biggest reaction and attention. A little behind-the-scenes info: I would rather report the stories about a person doing something positive rather than airing dirty laundry, which is often merely speculation or rumor. In reality, the positive stories rarely make the big splash and, sadly, never get much play in terms of reaction or interaction from fans/listeners/viewers.
So, how is it, then, that George Strait has been able reign at the top for over 30 years and (other than the death of his daughter in a car accident) has never been front page news of the tabloids? One word: CONSISTENCY.
George has been consistent both in music and in life. I've had the chance to meet Strait on a couple of occasions and have been a fan of his since I started listening to country music. After each meeting backstage with him, I always walk away thinking that he is quiet and humble and honest.
His music has remained the elite brand of country music since day one. What some writers/critics call "traditional" has been the signature sound -- album after album, single after single -- for Strait. The fact that he has had a hit song every year since his career started is all the proof needed that there is still room for the traditional style, even in today's world of country rock and hip-hop. Don't get me wrong, today's stars are incredible and have reached audiences that, when Strait got started, Nashville never dreamed possible.
But putting the music aside, what do we really know about one of the last signing cowboy's real life? Who is George Strait when the cameras are off and the concertgoers go home? Truth is, most of us don't know. And speaking as a guy who has spent thousands of dollars and traveled thousands of miles to see him (and, yes, even paying for his music -- contrary to the belief about freebies for radio guys), I am completely fine with that.
There really is no dirt to be dug up on George Strait. I think above all the success professionally, the thing that I find most intriguing about Strait is that his personal life has been kept just that. Strait is a living legend, but he is also a link to a generation of people that believed that your deeds and talents should be enough to propel you to the top, no matter what field or line of work you are in.
I have to admit, that for most of the last show on the Cowboy Rides Away Tour in Arlington this past weekend, I had tears in my eyes. Not because I know George or have a connection to him in any other way than being a fan. For me, the emotions that I was feeling came from nothing other than the fact that Strait's music has helped me through so many good and bad times in my life. It seems as though whenever something pivotal or monumental has happened in my life, there has been a Strait song to get me through or enhance my experience.
That's what I mean about his consistency.
When I looked around AT&T Stadium and witnessed 105,000 people cheering for every single song, it was clear that we all were there for a common and consistent reason. It wasn't because of scandal or rumor or dirty laundry -- it was that shared emotion derived from our personal experience with the style that, for 30 years, has consistently gotten us all through the ups and downs of our lives.
Just like any cowboy from any good story, Strait has consistently been there to save the day.