Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: George Strait, “Fool Hearted Memory”

“Fool Hearted Memory”

George Strait

Written by Byron Hill and Blake Mevis


#1 (1 week)

August 28, 1982

George Strait has had more No. 1 country hits than any artist in history, and he trails only Madonna for the most No. 1 singles on any Billboard chart in history.

Strait’s father was a junior high math teacher and cattle rancher, and when his parents divorced in fourth grade, he and his brother were raised by his dad.  Strait would ultimately be responsible for helping usher in a new era of traditional sounds in country music, but he started out in a rock and roll garage band, enamored with the Beatles and their contemporaries. However, he soon discovered classic country.  As a young man, he eloped with his high school sweetheart – they’re still married today – and then joined the army, performing country music whenever he found the opportunity.

He kept performing after he left the army, and all through his time in college, where earned a degree in agriculture. He became friends with a bar owner who had a connection to MCA Records. A partnership that has lasted more than forty years began with just a deal for one single: “Unwound.” When it went top ten, it became the lead single from his debut album, Strait Country, which also produced the top twenty hit “Down and Out” and then his first top five single, “If You’re Thinking You Want a Stranger (There’s One Coming Home.”

The lead single from his second album, Strait From the Heart, was George Strait’s first number one single. 

There’s something that happens with studio confidence after a debut album is successful.  We’ve already seen the phenomenon with fellow eighties breakthrough act Alabama.  It’s true as well for Strait, as his confidence radiates off the record here.  The irresistible fiddle track is a perfect match for Strait’s smooth and pure country vocal.  Has there ever been another singer who could sound so down home and uptown at the same time?

It’s easy for the two No. 1 hits from Strait From the Heart to be overshadowed by the album’s other two top ten singles: “Marina Del Rey” and his signature hit, “Amarillo By Morning.”  But he earned his first chart topper with a fantastic song that he delivered flawlessly.  Knowing what lies ahead for this young singer, it’s still amazing to hear just how good he was right out of the gate.

“Fool Hearted Memory” gets an A.  

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. The King has arrived! Excellent song… this might be my 2nd favorite Strait song (Favorite is “Baby’s Gotten Good At Goodbye”).

  2. If Maimonides was a country music critic he would have described George Strait’s creative emergence ex nihilo!

    The KIng showed up game ready and fully formed with this timeless classic!

    Will the eighties’ well of crazy good and disperate chart toppers ever run dry?

  3. I did not know this was his first number one, but he absolutely started as he meant to go on with a wonderful lyric and melody.

  4. If you listen to this song carefully it has rather sophisticated production. A lot of moving parts but it sounds so simple. George’s phrasing was phenomenal as well. Classic song without a doubt.

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