Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: George Strait, “If I Know Me”

“If I Know Me”

George Strait

Written by Pam Belford and Dean Dillon

Billboard

#1 (2 weeks)

May 11 – May 18, 1991

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

May 3, 1991

George Strait continues to keep pace with the new and rising stars of the early nineties.

The Road to No. 1

From his previous studio set, Livin’ it Up, Strait had enjoyed two No. 1 singles that spent five weeks each at No. 1.   Recorded as he was the reigning ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year, Strait would release four singles from his next studio effort, Chill of an Early Fall.

The No. 1

“If I Know Me” is yet another effortless ballad from Strait, combining his ear for strong material with his strength as a storyteller.

Sung from the perspective of a man who has just left home after a fight with his wife, his mind is wandering back home, imagining her upset and worried that he isn’t coming home.  But in the chorus, he already knows he’s coming home.  “If I know me, I’ll turn this car around, I won’t get halfway through town, and I’ll be sorry.”

Strait has an uncanny ability to embody what women hope men are thinking.  So much of his best material is in this vein.

“If I Know Me” is one of his best singles from this era.  It’s also an early indication of how Strait’s timeless sound would endure through the rise and fall of younger artists more directly tied a specific era of country music.

The Road From No. 1

As noted above, Strait will score another two No. 1 singles from this set.  We will see both of them before the end of 1991.

“If I Know Me” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Dolly Parton with Ricky Van Shelton, “Rockin’ Years” | Next: Doug Stone, “In a Different Light”

7 Comments

  1. I love the era in country where men had feelings too instead of just look at my truck and my hot gf shaking her a$$. This is real and this song is awesome. I think country forgot that us guys have bad days too.

  2. I am still transfixed by this song. It is the ultimate George Strait sing-along song for me. I can’t put a finger on what elevates this number above so many other great Strait singles, but it stands apart in my mind. Maybe it is “that timeless sound” Kevin identified.

    It’s honest. It’s vulnerable. It’s tender. It’s true.

    His phrasing and nuanced vocals in this ballad are what will lead to him being declared the Sinatra of country.

    This song is subtly superb.

  3. Just about everything I love about George Strait can be heard in this song, and I simply love everything about it. Strait once again give an excellent performance with his smooth vocals, but he also gives it the right amount of emotion in which you can really tell that he regrets fighting with his significant other and leaving home. I just love the honesty and vulnerability in the lyrics, as Peter pointed out, especially in the second verse when he says: “Sometimes I lose my head saying things to break your heart, forgetting if I lost your love, it would tear my world apart.” It’s just so relatable, since a lot of us tend to do and say things we don’t really mean when angry or upset. And I love how at the end of the day, both characters in the song still really love and need each other. I also just love how it sounds, overall, with the right touches of fiddle and steel, and that opening piano instantly takes me back to my childhood.

    Speaking of that, this is, by far, one of the most essential George Strait songs from my childhood. The first time I was recording it on to tape in 1991, I remember my step dad coming home from work and him being so proud of me because it was the first tape I was recording all by myself without his help. It’s also on another tape I recorded in early 1993 in which I’ve listened to countless times. This song just brings back many great memories, and it’ll always have a special place for me.

    Btw, this is probably also my favorite video George Strait ever did. I especially love the shots of George performing in the dance hall in his signature black hat, starched shirt and jeans, and crooked smile with a bunch of couples slow dancing in front of him. And also him looking into the mirror as he sings the last “And I know me.” Simply classic!

  4. One of George’s best IMO

    I’ve always love the parent album, I found it to be the era that perfectly captures George at his finest.

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