Music

'Love Without End, Amen': The Story Behind George Strait's Fatherhood Tearjerker

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Aaron Barker, the songwriter behind George Strait's hit "Love Without End, Amen,'" wrote the song for his teenage son, who was right in the thick of rebellion.

Barker had to get onto his 16-year-old song when he took the car for a spin and ended up landing one of the wheels on top of the hood of someone's brand-new Porsche.

After his initial reaction, Barker didn't know if he'd been too hard on his son or not hard enough. He then wrote that gut-punching tag, "Daddies don't just love their children every now and then. It's a love without end, amen."

Barker dug deeper into the story with Bart Herbison of the Nashville Songwriter's Association. "My son was born when I was 17, and I thought, "This'll be great. We'll grow up together." When he was 16, [he] start[ed] finding [his] own independence." Barker explained when talking about the car accident mentioned above. "That was the night it really came to the reality that I had to be the dad. I couldn't just be his friend, and I got on him pretty hard."

Barker said all he could do was get on his knees and "play" (his guitar) about it. "The question I was asking is, "How can you be that mad at somebody and still love them that much? Where does that ability come from? This song was the answer to it... that's the way God loves us."

Strait released the song as the lead single on his 1990 album Livin' It Up. He turned the tender fatherhood song into a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. The song was Strait's first multi-week No. 1, staying at the top spot for five weeks.

 

Check out Strait's greatest hits, including "I Cross My Heart," "I Can Still Make Cheyenne," "Carrying Your Love With Me," "Carried Away," "Write This Down," and "Check Yes or No."

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'Love Without End, Amen' Lyrics:

I got sent home from school one day with a shiner on my eye
Fightin' was against the rules, and it didn't matter why
When dad got home, I told that story just like I'd rehearsed
Then stood there on those tremblin' knees and waitin' for the worst

And he said

Let me tell you a secret about a father's love
A secret that my daddy said was just between us
He said daddies don't just love their children every now and then
It's a love without end, amen
It's a love without end, amen

When I became a father in the spring of '81
There was no doubt that stubborn boy was just like my father's son
And when I thought my patience had been tested to the end
I took my daddy's secret and passed it on to him

I said

Let me tell you a secret about a father's love
A secret that my daddy said was just between us
He said daddies don't just love their children every now and then
It's a love without end, amen
It's a love without end, amen

Last night I dreamed I died and stood outside those pearly gates
When suddenly I realized there must be some mistake
If they know half the things I've done, they'll never let me in
Then somewhere from the other side, I heard these words again

And they said

Let me tell you a secret about a father's love
A secret that my daddy said was just between us
He said daddies don't just love their children every now and then
It's a love without end, amen
It's a love without end, amen

 

Now Watch: George Strait's Son, Bubba Strait, is a Country Songwriter and Rodeo Cowboy

 

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'Love Without End, Amen': The Story Behind George Strait's Fatherhood Tearjerker