George Strait has an impressive 60 No. 1 hits under his belt, but there’s one big song he passed on. The King of Country recently revealed he once had the chance to record “Tennessee Whiskey.”
Kacey Musgraves had the opportunity to sit down and ask Strait some fan-submitted questions before their show at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena via Facebook Live. A country listener named Ryan Bridges asked Strait if he passed on any songs that eventually became hits for other artists and the answer was pretty surprising.
“There was a couple,” Strait said with a smile in the live stream. “The biggest one was probably ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ that Dean Dillon wrote. I think it’s up for Song of the Year this year at the ACMs, right? Dean pitched that to me in the ’80s. I think it was around ’85, ’84 or something. And, I just didn’t, I didn’t… I missed it.”
Strait not cutting the song turned out to be pretty lucky move for some other country singers. David Allan Coe originally cut the track back in 1980. George Jones was next to make his own version of the song and it was a No. 2 hit on the country charts. And most recently, the song helped Chris Stapleton become a household name.
“Chris Stapleton just nailed it,” Strait admitted in the video.
Can you image what “Tennessee Whiskey” would have sounded like if Strait would have cut it instead of all those other artists? Although he passed on this song by Dillon and Linda Hargrove, he said in the live stream that Dillon had a cut on every one of his albums except for one. That’s one impressive songwriter-artist duo.
This article was originally published on Feb. 12, 2017.