Watch a Young George Strait Perform His First No. 1 Single “Fool Hearted Memory” on ‘Austin City Limits’

Today, fans hail George Strait as the King of Country Music. However, every reign has to start somewhere. Strait’s started in Texas in the early ‘80s. He saw immediate chart success with singles from his 1981 debut album Strait Country but the yet-to-be-crowned king wouldn’t see a No. 1 until he released “Fool Hearted Memory” in 1982.

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Byron Hill and Blake Mevis co-wrote “Fool Hearted Memory” and Strait released it as the lead single from his sophomore album Strait from the Heart. The song encapsulates the traditional country sound that the Texas native is famous for today. Additionally, it was the first of many No. 1 singles for him. Watch Strait perform “Fool Hearted Memory” on featuring the legendary fiddler Johnny Gimble on Austin City Limits below.

[RELATED: 3 Early George Strait Chart-Toppers to Celebrate the King’s Birthday]

“Fool Hearted Memory” Was George Strait and Byron Hill’s First No. 1

Hill recalled the origin of the song in an interview with American Songwriter. “I’d had cuts by the time we did ‘Fool Hearted Memory’ but, like George, that was my first No. 1,” he recalled. “It’s really a classic story of a music publisher doing what they’re supposed to do,” he added.

“I was writing for ATV Music and had written a song for a movie called The Exterminator, and the film company came back and wanted another song for a bar scene in a movie called The Soldier,” Hill said. “Gerry Teifer, my publisher at ATV, got together with Jim Foglesong at MCA Records, and, along with Blake Mevis, came up with a flan to fill the bill with a song on a rising artist named George Strait,” he added.

[RELATED: On This Day in 1982 George Strait Released “Fool Hearted Memory”, His First of Many No. 1 Singles]

At the time, Strait was just getting started and was more than happy to be included on a movie soundtrack. “The song,” Hill reflected, “which was really going to be pretty insignificant in the scheme of things turned out to be a lot bigger than the movie.”

Hill knew what they delivered would be a single. However, he knew they still had to put in the work to make something special. “The stars aligned and we wrote a really great song. I’m always careful not to use the word ‘great’ but it really is a great song. I think it also takes a great artist and a great history to make something really ‘great.’ The song just really fit the situation at the time,” he explained.

Featured Image by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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