71 years ago today (May 18) royalty was born in the small Texas town of Poteet. Country music royalty, that is. In his over 30-year recording career, George Strait has earned the moniker known by every country music fan from Marina del Rey to Amarillo: the King of Country.
It's high praise to be sure -- and certainly not one that the humble Texan has placed on himself. But Strait's whopping 60 No. 1 hits -- a testament to the King's knack for choosing timeless songs (evidenced by his longterm partnership with songwriting great Dean Dillon) -- and record shattering career feats has led both Strait's heroes and peers to name him as one of country music's greatest living legends.
Strait superfan Garth Brooks, who penned his iconic "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)" with the "Amarillo By Morning" singer in mind, once said "I can't carry George Strait's shoelaces."
Over three decades into his legendary career, the Country Music Hall of Famer is still inspiring songs (Scotty McCreery's "Damn Strait" to name just one) and countless careers, with hitmakers such as McCreery, Jon Pardi, Cody Johnson and many more looking to Strait as a guiding light.
We asked country artists, including tourmates Little Big Town and Caitlyn Smith, just what makes George Strait the forever reigning King of Country.
Little Big Town
"He just is. He always has been and always will be. He has given us the soundtrack for our lives. Real stories from a real cowboy."
"There's two people I grew up knowing who didn't have to leave their boots at the door. Jesus & George Strait."
"I truly believe that he's earned his title by being true to himself, being true to his sound and just making amazing music for years and years," Carpenter, whose recent release "Don't Mess With Exes" was inspired by Strait's "All My Ex's Live in Texas," tells Wide Open Country. "So y'all go wish him a happy birthday."
READ MORE: The Ultimate Road Trip for George Strait Fans, From Marina Del Rey to Amarillo
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