I swear, The King just ages like the finest bottle of wine money can buy…
And I have what is possibly the greatest example of that right here in this post.
Back in 2021, George Strait was honored with the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Lifetime Achievement Award at the Western Heritage Awards in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
He dedicated the award to his late father John Strait, who was a rancher and teacher that raised George and his brother by himself after he divorced George’s mom, Doris, when George was in 4th grade.
The King gave a great speech that evening talking about how his father influenced his life and eventual legendary country career, and he even told a great story about his early days in Music City that I’ve never heard before.
He told the audience that his longtime label, MCA Nashville (who he is still with), wanted him to lose his iconic cowboy hat in the early 80’s for whatever lame marketing purposes they had in their heads:
“I wanna tell you a funny story. When I first signed with MCA Records in 1981, you know, all the people were goin’, ‘Take the hat off.'”
He actually broke out into laughter recounting that memory, adding how dumb it would’ve been had he obliged:
“Now can you imagine if I would have done that? I mean, really.”
Touché, King… couldn’t have said it any better myself.
George went on to tell another hilarious fact that I’ve never heard before, saying that a producer he had in his early days wanted him to change his name to Cain Cooper…
I mean, could they really not have come up with anything better than that?
At this point, George is laughing so hard I feel like he could’ve almost shed a tear:
“And then I had a producer early on and he was trying to get me to change my name to Cain Cooper. I would have been one of the Cooper’s. Me and ole Roy would’ve been brothers… we are brothers.
But anyway, my dad was so glad I didn’t do that.”
Can you imagine The King sans his signature, totally Texas cowboy hat with the name Cain Cooper?
Clearly and thankfully, George stayed trued to himself, made some of the best country music you’ll ever listen to, and became an icon and legend in the genre who is one of my personal, all-time favorites.
Do yourself a favor and watch him tell it all yourself, though… it’s the best thing you’ll see all day, and that’s a promise:
Here’s the full speech:
The King is gearing up for quite a few stadium shows this summer with Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town, which will certainly each be a concert to remember if you were lucky enough to score a ticket.
George Strait 2023 Stadium Shows:
May 6 Glendale, Ariz. || State Farm Stadium
June 3 Milwaukee, Wisc. || American Family Field
June 17 Seattle, Wash. || Lumen Field
June 24 Denver, Colo. || Empower Field at Mile High Stadium
July 29 Nashville, Tenn. || Nissan Stadium
Aug. 5 Tampa, Fla. || Raymond James Stadium