Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: George Strait, “Today My World Slipped Away”

“Today My World Slipped Away”

George Strait

Written by Vern Gosdin and Mark Wright

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

November 28, 1997

George Strait takes a Vern Gosdin classic to the top.

The Road to No. 1

This is the third of six  consecutive No. 1 hits from Strait, which began with the first two singles from Carrying Your Love With Me: “One Night at a Time” and the title track.

The No. 1

Vern Gosdin is a criminally underrated singer and songwriter that didn’t get nearly enough attention during his heyday.

Case in point: his original version of “Today My World Slipped Away” stopped at No. 10.  Thankfully, he was still around to collect the songwriting royalties when George Strait’s version made it the No. 1 single it should’ve been fifteen years earlier.

Strait was such a consistent hitmaker for so many years that hearing the subtle changes in his voice over time was like trying to feel the earth spin.  He remained too pure of a singer for his voice to ever be described as weathered by time, but it did get richer and deeper, and his performance on this record is the midpoint between his youthful sound on “Amarillo By Morning” and his fully matured vocal on “Troubadour.” It gives weight to a heavy lyric about a divorce that has left him “alone and afraid.”

It’s far and away the best single from Carrying Your Love With Me, and one of the best of his many No. 1 singles from this decade.

The Road From No. 1

One more No. 1 single from Carrying Your Love With Me is still on deck, and it will be followed by two No. 1 hits from his next studio album.  We’ll cover all of them in 1998.

“Today My World Slipped Away” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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Next: Michael Peterson, “From Here to Eternity”

3 Comments

  1. This single throbs and aches with fear and hurt. It is a brilliant performance top to bottom. Gosdin’s lyrics are disarmingly economical; A man is on his knees telling God how much he hurts because he is uncertain he can go on living without his partner after their divorce. Gosdin wastes no time getting at the emotional nut of the story while Strait provides a vocal performance worthy of “The Voice.” Not only has the narrator’s world slipped away, it feels forever lost. This is a hopeless, bleak song. Paul Franklin’s steel guitar cuts like shards of shattered glass. This song hurts to listen to.

    The King of Country Music is holding court with this one!

  2. Still one of the finest, most beautiful, and most devastating songs about divorce and losing someone who was such a big part of your world. The lyrics about being “alone and afraid” and “burying the plans you’ve made” are all too relatable and true. Because not only is that person you loved with all of your heart now gone, but so are the hopes and dreams you once shared together with that person. It’s definitely one of the most honest and straightforward songs that perfectly describes the feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, and uncertainty that come with losing a partner or really anyone who was such an essential part of your life.

    Both Vern Gosdin and George Strait did an excellent job of conveying all of those emotions in each of their performances. Like Gosdin in the original, you can hear both the sorrow and fear in just about every line Strait sings, with even a quaver in his voice at times. In fact, this is still probably one of Strait’s most emotional vocal performances of his career. I also totally agree that Strait’s maturing voice was a perfect match for this song. It’s funny you should mention that, because I also always think of the Carrying Your Love With Me album as when he really started sounding vocally more like the older and more mature George Strait that we know today.

    I’ve always loved the arrangement in Strait’s remake of the song, as well, which is actually not too much different from the original besides the obvious differences in early 80’s and late 90’s production styles (ex: the drums, and the backup vocal in Gosdin’s original is typical early 80’s). I personally think it’s pretty neat how the song was still able to become a number one hit in 1997 while still sounding almost the same as Gosdin’s version. For me, it’s also further evidence that the more classy, string-laden ballads of the late 70’s and early 80’s were sort of making a comeback in the late 90’s and early 00’s. I also love how even Paul Franklin’s steel guitar playing is a nod to Vern Gosdin, especially the steel guitar licks in both of the choruses, which remind me of Chiseled In Stone era Vern.

    I actually have George Strait to thank for introducing this gem of a song to me back in late 1997, since his version was the first one I ever heard. I never even knew it was a cover, at first, and on more than one occasion when it came on while in my Dad’s car, he mentioned to me that Vern Gosdin was the first one to sing it. I could tell the song was a long time favorite of his, and it quickly became one I always enjoyed hearing, as well. And again, while I was very much happy during that time in my life, the sadness of the song and its beautiful melody just somehow really appealed to me as a 12 year old. A lot of times, I think this is around the time period where my love for sad songs really started (Ex: During this time, I also loved Patty’s “You Don’t Seem To Miss Me,” Brooks & Dunn’s “He’s Got You,” Alan Jackson’s “A House With No Curtains,” Daryle Singletary’s “The Note,” Kenny Chesney’s “A Chance,” Sammy Kershaw’s “Matches,” Mark Chesnutt’s “It’s Not Over,” etc.) But then I also remember liking quite a few of them as a little kid in the early 90’s, as well, lol.

    Unfortunately, George’s version of “Today My World Slipped Away” pretty much “slipped away” from our stations once its chart run was over. Heck, I don’t remember hearing it at all anymore once “Round About Way” was released next. It wasn’t until I got the Carrying Your Love With Me album years later that I was reminded how much I always enjoyed it. Ever since, it’s been one of many George Strait songs that’s still a part of my regular rotation.

    Speaking of that album, another one of my absolute favorites on it is “A Real Good Place To Start.” It’s another great emotional ballad that, like this song, is made even better with George’s deeper and more mature vocals, imo.

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