It's common to know the star-studded names behind country classics like "That's The Way Love Goes," "I Wonder Do You Think of Me," and "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind." It can be fairly uncommon, though, to know who penned the popular tunes.
(Whitey) Sanger D. Shafer's life changed when he heard "If You've Got The Money I've Got The Time" on the jukebox. Little did he know, he'd come to write one of the most well-known country classics in the world.
Shafer grew up in a musical family in Whitney, Texas, which is just south of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. During a program at the Country Music Hall of Fame, Shafer explained that there were two kinds of Texans, the "haves" and the "have nots." In 1967, he was among the "have nots" and decided he'd better move to Nashville. At the time, he was only 30-years-old and had been running a turkey farm in Waco and playing gigs for seven and a half dollars.
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Every morning before Shafer went to work, he would sit on his toilet and write a song. When he moved to Nashville, these songs came in handy and got him a publishing deal and an artist deal with RCA Records. His toilet tunes landed him two cuts with George Jones, "Between My House and Town" and "I'm a New Man in Town."
Eventually, Shafer got ahold of his childhood idol Lefty Frizzel and the two become inseparable. They wrote together until Frizzel's death in 1975.
After Frizzel's death, Shafer had just about gone under and had enrolled himself in truck-driving school. Luckily, a new country music cowboy by the name of George Strait showed up to Shafer's publishing company hunting for a song or two to record. Strait chose four of Shafer's songs to be put on his next album: "Honky Tonk Saturday Night," "I Need Someone Like Me," "What Did You Expect Me To Do," and "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind," which Shafer wrote with his wife of the time, Darlene Shafer.
Though Keith Whitley and Moe Bandy had already recorded the Texas town song, it went straight to No. 1 on the Billboard chart when Strait released it.
Strait loved the song so much, he titled his fourth studio album Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind. The album, released by MCA Records and produced by Jimmy Bowen, spent three weeks in the No. 1 spot and won Strait a CMA for Album of The Year.
The single will spend eternity on country music greatest hits playlists next to country songs like "Right or Wrong," "Unwound," "Amarillo by Morning," "The Fireman," and "The Cowboy Rides Away."
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