CMT.com says "Happy Birthday" to George Strait on the occasion of his 50th, Saturday, May 18. Strait, born in Poteet, Texas, started his run on the country charts in 1981 with "Unwound" and in the ensuing 21 years has outdistanced all of his country music peers.
His current single, "Living and Living
Well," appears to be making its way to the top of the country charts, the latest in a long list of achievements that includes
25 platinum albums and somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 No. 1 country singles.
Famously averse to interaction with
the press, Strait has built his fame by delivering high-quality, hit-laced country albums and by touring with a show that
puts his music front and center. His starched-cowboy image -- creased jeans, crisp western shirt and Resistol hat -- has remained
constant over the course of his musical career.
Whether in the road-warrior days of playing 200 dates a year in honky-tonks
and dancehalls or in more recent years, when his country music festivals boosted the fortunes of support acts like Faith Hill, Tim McGraw or the Dixie
Chicks, Strait has stood for quality and tradition. Which is not to say he has been one-dimensional. His smooth approach
to country encompasses pop ballads, western swing tunes, Cajun-flavored music and honky-tonk.
So here's to King George.
A press representative tells us he'll observe his big day in an understated way. "Nothing's planned, to our knowledge," she
says. "It's just quietly going by."
CMT tips its hat to the cowboy on Saturday (May 18) with an airing at 3 p.m. ET
of an installment of Best of Austin City Limits featuring Strait, followed at 4 p.m. ET by Big Ticket featuring
Strait and George Jones.
And look for Strait Wednesday night (8 p.m. ET/PT) on the 37th Annual Academy of Country
Music Awards. He'll perform on the show. He doesn't have a nomination, but he influenced virtually every artist who does.