Every #1 Single of the Nineties: George Strait, “Easy Come, Easy Go”

“Easy Come, Easy Go”

George Strait

Written by Aaron Barker and Dean Dillon

Billboard

#1 (2 weeks)

October 23 – October 30, 1993

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

October 22, 1993

One of George Strait’s best nineties hits keeps his hot streak going.

The Road to No. 1

George Strait enjoyed two No. 1 singles from Pure Country, the soundtrack to his debut film project.  Despite it becoming his best selling album, only three singles were released, with “When Did You Stop Loving Me” going top five.  Strait previewed his next studio album with the title track, and it returned King George to No. 1

The No. 1

What would the George Strait story be without Dean Dillon?

Certainly less interesting, if nothing else.  But I strongly believe that it was his Dillon-penned hits that fit Strait best, challenging him as a vocalist to deliver sophisticated phrasing that smoothed the edges of the idiosyncratic material Dillon wrote.

“Easy Come, Easy Go” is anything but easy to sing, and Strait brings a nuanced range of emotions to his reading of it.  On one line, he sounds irritated, the next, sorrowful, and then the next, wearily resigned.

If you’re experiencing a breakup, and you feel angry, or bitter, or sad, or indifferent, or even relieved, you can put this record on and think, “He feels just like I do.”

It’s a masterclass performance, and should be Exhibit A for anyone trying to explain how Strait ended up the most successful country singles artist of all time.

The Road From No. 1

Easy Come Easy Go has another No. 1 single on deck, and we’ll cover it early in 1994.

“Easy Come, Easy Go” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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3 Comments

  1. Dillon’s lyrics driving Strait to find that “sophisticated phrasing” is what would lead to Strait increasingly being mentioned in the same breath as Frank Sinatra when talking vocal stylists.

    Don’t overlook Tony Brown’s role as producer either in Strait’s work going forward. His contemporary sensibilities were the perfect bridge between neo-traditionalism and new country.

    “Easy Come, Easy Go” still sounds shockingly fresh and new today. It is a masterpiece and as good a place as any to introduce somebody to George Strait and country music.

    In a sing-song voice, my colleague loves referencing this number with a “Vaya con dios” when we release a problematic client.

  2. As I believe one of the writers over at My Kind Of Country stated, this song and the accompanying album of the same name was the beginning of the modern day George Strait. And for me, it’s the official beginning of the Tony Brown era, despite Brown having a hand in producing the previous Pure Country.

    Unlike most of his previous work up to this point, this song alone introduced a more smooth, low key, sophisticated, and slightly more contemporary (while still being undeniably country) style that George would be more well known for from now on. And it was this smooth and sophisticated style that would play a big part in making me a big George Strait fan as I got back into country in the mid 90’s and all the up to the 2000’s, especially if Dean Dillon was involved, as well. This song, with its memorable melody, easy going charm despite the lyrics, catchy steel guitar licks, and Strait’s smooth, flawless performance was indeed a fine example of Strait, Brown, and Dillon coming together perfectly. I actually still have a hard time believing this record came as early as 1993, as it still sounds amazingly fresh and timeless today. It wouldn’t sound out of place at all on any of his 2000’s albums, imo.

    I, in fact, remember this being one of the first George Strait songs that really caught my ear when I was getting back to listening to country radio regularly in 1995. It even continued to get a lot of recurrent airplay for us going into the early 00’s, and I remember hearing it on a least a couple of the mornings when my step dad drove me to school. Heck, it was even on one morning when he playfully turned the stereo on downstairs up loud to try to drown out the music that my mom was playing loud in the dining room, lol. It’s simply another one of those songs I always enjoyed hearing, no matter how many times.

    The Easy Come Easy Go album was also one of the first ones I picked up around early 2002 when I started collecting George’s albums, along with Holding My Own. It’s still one of my very favorite Strait albums to this day, and it’s definitely one of the best ones he did with Tony Brown, imo.

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