Music

'All My Ex's Live In Texas': The Story Behind George Strait's 11th No. 1 Hit

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

You cannot think of '80s Country and not think of George Strait. With a career of over 60 No. 1's, the King of Country Music is a classic in every decade from his first hit in 1982 to his most recent hit in 2019. Arguably, none of his songs are greater than his second single from his 1987 Ocean Front Property album, "All My Ex's Live In Texas."

Who Wrote 'All My Ex's Live in Texas'?

"All My Ex's Live In Texas" was written by Sanger D. Shafer (aka Whitey) and, his wife at the time, Lyndia Shafer. The song was Strait's 11th No. 1 single and was nominated for Best Male Country Vocal Performace at the 1988 Grammys.

In case you're wondering if the song is a true story, Shafer says it is -- with a few location and name changes.

"This song is a true story, kind of," Shafer said during an appearance on Country Road TV. "I changed the names to protect the guilty. I changed the names of the towns, too."

Shafer wrote for many of the greats like Lefty Frizzell, Keith Whitley, and Merle Haggard. In addition to "All My Ex's Live In Texas," Shafer wrote, "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind," which was also a No. 1 hit for Strait.

Shafer grew up in Texas listening to Bob Wills and Ernest Tubb on the radio, but he really fell in love with music when he heard "If You've Got The Money I've Got The Time" by Lefty Frizzell. He moved to Nashville in 1967 and began writing songs with A.L. Owens and Dallas Frazier. He signed a recording contract with RCA Records and a publishing deal with Blue Crest Music and ended up getting several cuts with George Jones.

Shafer eventually mustered up the courage to contact one of his radio heroes, Lefty Frizzell, who listened to a few demo tapes and recorded Shafer's "You, Babe" the next day. Frizzel and Shafer became good friends and co-writers. The team wrote the song "That's The Way Love Goes," which became a hit for Johnny Rodriguez in 1974.

Shafer was an instrumental part in the careers of many artists. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1989.

 

'All My Ex's Live in Texas' Lyrics:

All my ex's live in Texas
And Texas is the place I'd dearly love to be
But all my ex's live in Texas
And that's why I hang my hat in Tennessee

Rosanna's down in Texarkana
Wanted me to push her broom
Sweet Eileen's in Abilene
She forgot I hung the moon
And Allison's in Galveston
Somehow lost her sanity
And Dimple's who now lives in Temple's
Got the law looking for me

All my ex's live in Texas
And Texas is the place I'd dearly love to be
But all my ex's live in Texas
And that's why I hang my hat in Tennessee

I remember that old Frio River
Where I learned to swim
But it brings to mind another time
Where I wore my welcome thin
By transcendental meditation
I go there each night
But I always come back to myself
Long before daylight

All my ex's live in Texas
And Texas is the place I'd dearly love to be
But all my ex's live in Texas
Therefore I reside in Tennessee

Some folks think I'm hidin'
It's been rumored that I died
But I'm alive and well in Tennessee

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'All My Ex's Live In Texas': The Story Behind George Strait's 11th No. 1 Hit