George Strait at the Country Music Hall of Fame, September 25, 2012, announcing his final tour.
George Strait announced last week that it’s time to hang up his spurs. His new tour, The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, will likely be his last big stretch of tour dates. George named the tour after his hit song “The Cowboy Rides Away.” It’s a fitting title, as he has used the song to close his live shows for years.
Released in 1985, the song was the second single from George’s 1984 Does Forth Worth Ever Cross Your Mind album. It reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and No. 3 on Canada’s RPM Country Tracks chart.
Step into GAC’s Time Machine to watch this live performance of “The Cowboy Rides Away” after the jump! Continue Reading
Tim McGraw in his 1994 video, "Indian Outlaw."
Tim McGraw’s “Indian Outlaw” came in at No. 49 on GAC’s Top 50 Videos of the ’90s and with good reason. In the video, directed by Sherman Halsey, a long-haired Tim is center stage for most of it, performing the song - with some killer dance moves – while couples tear up the dance floor around him. In other scenes, he takes off on a motorcycle, a female friend along for the ride. The song was a Top 10 hit for Tim in 1994, but if producer James Stroud had had his way, the song would have never been recorded.
“I hated that song,” James told GAC. “I told Tim not to cut that song. I begged him not to cut it. He said, ‘Look it’s my career, I’ll cut it, let’s cut it.’ So I cut it. I thought it was the worst thing in the world. Of course we fought about it. He said I want it for the first single anyway. The bottom line was, we went and did this song. We worked on it as hard as we could.”
James ate his words when the song became a hit – in more ways than one. “We put the record out,” he said. “I told him it wasn’t going to be a hit. I was absolutely wrong. The thing blew up. And of course he has this big, huge hit called “Indian Outlaw” now. Then I realized, after all this, that I published it. So, I really like it now.”
Check out the video below Continue Reading
Shania Twain photo courtesy of UMG Nashville.
It was just about this very same week back in 1995 when Shania Twain hit the top of the Billboard country chart with “Any Man of Mine,” a song that quickly became an anthem for women everywhere. Written by Shania and her then-husband Mutt Lange, the song was Shania’s very first No. 1 single and also her first crossover hit when it reached the Top 40 on the pop charts. The song was featured on her multi-platinum selling album, The Woman In Me, which won the 1995 Grammy for Best Country Album and ACM award for Album of the Year. Continue Reading
As FM radio expanded in the early ’90s, Americans who only knew cowboy hats and a couple of Willie Nelson songs were introduced to stars like Garth Brooks, George Strait and Reba McEntire. It was a great time for country music; the genre was booming and the rest of America was taking notice. Here’s our list of the Top 10 artists who defined country music in a decade when the format reached new frontiers. As with any list, we know there are many more than 10 who impacted the genre. If you don’t see your favorite here, leave us a comment at the end and let us know which artists helped define the ’90s for you! And, don’t forget to cast your vote for GAC’s Top 50 Videos of the ’90s! Vote now »
Garth Brooks photo by Mark Tucker, courtesy of Pearl Records.
Garth charted more number one hits (19 in the 1990s) and sold more albums (current tally 128 million, making him the second best-selling American solo artist of all-time behind Elvis) than any other country artist. He is the recipient of 18 ACM awards, 11 CMA awards and 2 Grammys, as well as 16 American Music Awards. However, these staggering facts and figures only tell part of the story of how he defined country music throughout the ’90s; Garth was a one-man country music marketing machine. Through incorporating elements of rock music into his songs and amping up his live shows with an endless supply of energy (remember the music videos of Garth running around stage with a wireless headset mic and joyfully smashing guitars?), Garth brought country music to the mainstream masses. Even people who “don’t like country music” have his Greatest Hits album featuring songs like the classic and universally known “Friends in Low Places,” which, be assured, someone will be singing in a New York City karaoke bar tonight. And not only did Garth headline major concerts in the US, including his free Central Park performance for 980,000 fans in 1997, he was a worldwide phenomenon touring such locales as Brazil, Europe and the Far East as the symbol of American country music. Continue Reading
Alan Jackson in his 1991 video "Don't Rock The Jukebox"
It’s hard to believe that 20 years ago this week, back in 1991, Alan Jackson‘s smash hit “Don’t Rock The Jukebox” was sitting at the top of the Billboard charts. It held the top spot for 3 weeks before getting knocked off by Ricky Van Shelton’s “I’m A Simple Man.”
“Don’t Rock The Jukebox” was the lead single from Alan’s second album, also titled Don’t Rock The Jukebox, released on May 14, 1991. By the end of 1991 the album had achieved both Gold and Platinum status. Then, at the 1992 ACM Awards, Alan along with co-producers Keith Stegall and Scott Hendricks, were double winners as “Don’t Rock The Jukebox” collected both the Single Record and Album of the Year awards. By 1995 the album had sold over 4 million copies, reaching quadruple Platinum status. “Don’t Rock The Jukebox” has definitely secured its place on the list of the greatest country songs of all time! Continue Reading
LeAnn Rimes photo courtesy of Curb Records
When LeAnn Rimes debuted with “Blue” in 1996 many were shocked to find out that big voice was coming from a 13-year-old. It was just the first of many hits for the supernaturally-talented teen. Fast forward 15 years: LeAnn’s been a singer, songwriter, award winner, actress, headline maker and most recently, a newlywed. GAC shines the spotlight on her in our exclusive special, Backstory: LeAnn Rimes, airing TONIGHT on GAC at 9/8 c. (Click HERE for more air times.)
In this week’s trip back in the GAC Time Machine, we take a look at LeAnn’s impressive debut with a timeless song. Watch the video below: Continue Reading
Kenny Rogers as "The Gambler."
Tonight is the premiere of Kenny Rogers: The First 50 Years – airing at 8:30 p.m. Eastern, only on GAC! In this special, Kenny is joined by superstars including Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw, Wynonna, Billy Currington, Darius Rucker, Alison Krauss, Lionel Richie, Sheena Easton, Smokey Robinson, Chris Isaak and original members of the First Edition. They’re all singing songs from Kenny’s treasure trove of hits. Browse our exclusive photo gallery from the concert »
Kenny also performs his classics, including one of his best-known hits, “The Gambler.” In this latest trip in the “GAC Time Machine,” we thought we’d unearth a clip of the 1978 No. 1, played with scenes from Kenny’s 1980 TV movie of the same name. See if you can spot another country legend in the clip. Hint: she first appears at the 47 second mark. Continue Reading
Kenny Chesney in his 1993 video, "Fall In Love."
Cowboy hat — check. Starched white shirt — check. Baby face full of charm — check. It’s all there in Kenny Chesney‘s 1993 video for ”Fall In Love,” a song which went Top 10 for the new artist, who was fighting for chart space with other country newcomers including Tim McGraw, Tracy Byrd and Rhett Akins. In this week’s trip back in time, we celebrate Kenny’s east Tennessee charm and his ultra sweet dance moves (especially at the video’s 1 minute mark).
Check out the “Fall In Love” video below Continue Reading
In 1975 Waylon Jennings topped the charts with “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” — an Outlaw’s response to critics saying his music was nothing like the traditional sound of Hank Williams, Sr. What’s funny is, today’s country artists are often criticized because their music is nothing like the traditional sound of Waylon Jennings.
With tomorrow’s premiere of GAC’s The Music Inside – Waylon Jennings: Breaking the Myth, we thought we’d post this classic clip of Waylon singing “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way.” You’ll notice Waylon’s sharing the stage with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. The legendary foursome toured and recorded off and on as The Highwaymen from 1985-1995.
When you’re finished watching Waylon’s original performance, click HERE to see Alabama honor him with their take on “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” from the tribute album Waylon Jennings: The Music Inside. And don’t forget to tune in for The Music Inside – Waylon Jennings: Breaking the Myth, which premieres Saturday, Feb. 26 at 9/8c on GAC! Continue Reading
Reba McEntire photo courtesy of The Valory Music Co.
We’re feeling a bit nostalgic today for those great old country music videos — so we thought we’d shine the spotlight on this one, Reba McEntire‘s first-ever, for “Whoever’s In New England.” It came out in February of 1986. If you can remember the ’80s, you’ll probably remember this music video. If you were still a twinkle in your dad’s eye back then, take a look at one of country music’s early music videos (below) and tip your hat to the voice, the song and the longevity of Reba! And in related news, mark your calendar for the premiere of Backstory: Reba McEntire, airing on GAC Saturday, March 5 at 9/8c! Continue Reading