Would you believe me if I told you that Reba passed on recording George Strait’s iconic #1 hit “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind”?
Because she did.
She was recently on the “I Miss…90s Country Radio” podcast and talked to Nick Hoffman about some of her struggles in deciding to record and put out different songs to country radio back at the height of her career.
More specifically, she spoke in-depth about why she made certain calls in regards to tracks she felt comfortable putting out to her fans, even if they weren’t always squeaky clean.
Possibly her most recognizable hit, “Fancy,” talks about some pretty adult topics in prostitution and sex, but she felt like it was an appropriate addition to her catalog because:
“It’s real-life; it’s a rags to riches, it’s Cinderella, it’s Annie Oakley, but I knew it wasn’t probably the proper thing to do because Jimmy Bowen, my producer before Tony Brown, I’d asked to do it then.
And he said, ‘Oh woman, you don’t need to do that kind of song, it’s about a prostitute.’ And I said, ‘Well, I know, that’s everyday life.’ So was cheating, so was divorce, that’s everyday life.”
Reba’s version of “Fancy” was actually a cover of the original song by Bobbie Gentry from 1969. Of course, Reba released it in 1990 on her Rumor Has It album, and it became one of her signature songs, even though it only peaked at #8 on the Billboard County charts in 1991.
Another famous track of hers, “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia,” that was released in 1991, focuses on cheating and murder. All of that to say, it wasn’t uncommon for Reba to talk about subjects that might’ve been considered taboo at the time.
So, if she’s singing about all the real things that happen in relationships and life on some of her other songs, it seems like “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” would be right in her wheelhouse.
Passing On “Fort Worth”
But apparently, she’d gone back and forth several times on whether or not to actually cut it, and eventually decided not to because she felt like some of the topics were inappropriate:
“Oh, ‘Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind,’ I had that on hold three or four times, we kept taking it off. I
It was because cold, Fort Worth cold, and it had beer in it and back in those days, I didn’t associate myself with beer, whiskey, cigarettes, anything like that.
Although I do drink, I don’t smoke, but it just wasn’t there. Once again, little eyes are watching, so I wanted to keep it clean. So George Strait got it. Let him do it.”
It seems a little strange that she would have a problem with alcohol and cigarettes and not prostitution, but “Fort Worth” was in the mid-80s and the aforementioned tracks that she actually recorded were released years later in the early ’90s.
It could be that she just had a change of heart, or maybe she felt more comfortable getting into those topics as her career went on, but honestly, I can’t imagine anyone else singing that song besides King George.
“Fort Worth” was originally written by Sanger and Darlene Shafer, and was the title-track to George’s album of the same name. It was officially released as the lead-off single from that record in 1984.
Let’s be real, this was always meant to be George Strait’s song anyways: