Music

Story Behind the Song: Charley Pride's Tale of Heartbreak, 'Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone'

Artist Charley Pride performs at the 2018 CMA Music Festival at Nissan Stadium on Friday, June 8, 2018 in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Laura Roberts/Invision/AP)

"Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone," a No. 1 hit for Charley Pride, got mentioned in numerous tributes to Pride following his Dec. 2020 passing. And for good reason: Pride's manager Jack D. Johnson tweaked a Glenn Martin and Dave Kirby co-write into a near-perfect single about a broken-hearted wanderer wanting to get the hell out of Dodge. The end result still stacks up well against Pride's greatest hits ("Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'") and his finest deep cuts ("Crystal Chandeliers").

The version on 1970 release Charley Pride's 10th Album (RCA Victor) isn't the only crucial recording of the song. Doug Sahm and Band's 1973 album opens with an equally amazing version, set apart by Sahm's fiddle accompaniment and Bob Dylan's backup vocals.

Sahm, a San Antonio native and Tex-Mex legend, kept the song in his repertoire across different projects, including '90s supergroup the Texas Tornados.

Not a bad legacy for a country song dreamt up during the short drive from Nashville to Atlanta.

"We were going to Atlanta for something and we wrote it in the car,"  Martin told American Songwriter. "We were both writers for Tree [Music Publishing]. Dave was a great guitar player and a great writer, especially with melodies. After we got home from the trip we laid it down, and Charley cut it."

Read More: Glen Campbell's 10 Best Songs, Ranked

Martin had a hand in other songs by legendary country singers, such as Merle Haggard's "It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)" and Tammy Wynette's "I Still Believe in Fairy Tales." He's the father of two country songwriters: Tony (Joe Diffie's "Third Rock From the Sun," Tim McGraw's "Just to See You Smile") and Troy Martin (George Strait's "Baby's Gotten Good at Goodbye").

Other notable co-writes by Kirby include Gene Watson's "Memories to Burn" and Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings' "There Ain't No Good Chain Gang."

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"Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone," Lyrics (Sony/ATV Music Publishing)

Rain drippin' off the brim of my hat
It sure is cold today
And here I am walkin' down sixty-six
Wish she hadn't done me that way

Sleepin' under a table in a roadside park
A man could wake up dead
But it sure seems warmer than it did
Sleepin' in our king size bed

Is anybody goin' to San Antone
Or Phoenix, Arizona?
Anyplace is all right as long as I
Can forget I've ever known her

Wind whippin' down the neck of my shirt
Like I ain't got nothin' on
But I'd rather fight, the wind and rain
Than what I've been fightin' at home

Yonder comes a truck with the U.S. Mail
People writin' letters back home
Tomorrow she'll probably want me back
But I'll still be just as gone

Is anybody goin' to San Antone
Or Phoenix Arizona?
Anyplace is all right as long as I
Can forget I've ever known her
Any place is all right as long as I
Can forget I've ever known her

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Story Behind the Song: Charley Pride's Tale of Heartbreak, 'Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone'