Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: George Strait, “A Fire I Can’t Put Out”

“A Fire I Can’t Put Out”

George Strait

Written by Darryl Staedtler


#1 (1 week)

September 3, 1983

George Strait’s style is so well defined now that it’s a real kick hearing his oldest records, where he’s still trying on different influences in the studio.

Strait leans heavily into Haggard on “A Fire I Can’t Put Out,” using Merle’s phrasing and vocal licks throughout the track.  The boots are a little too big for him.

But given how many young male artists have since modeled themselves after Strait, it’s cool to hear a young George doing his own vocal homage while he’s still finding his own voice.

My God, is the fiddle work on this track fire, though.  It’s so refreshing to hear such pure twang during this era’s run of No. 1 hits.  

The elements are there for a great George Strait record, and if he’d recorded this an album or two later, he would’ve made it fully his own.  

“A Fire I Can’t Put Out” gets a B

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. My God, is the fiddle work on this track fire, though

    Yup. And several other songs on that album had similar fiddle work, including ”I Can’t See Texas From Here,” the only self-penned song Strait recorded for almost 30 years.

  2. Having given this long-familiar song a fresh listen in response to your commentary, I truly don’t understand how Strait could have performed it any better later in his career. The sound is “classic” Strait (with a tinge of Hag, admittedly — not a bad thing) to my ears and rates an easy “A” in my book.

    But what’s really outrageous to me is that the Strait single released just prior to this one, “Amarillo By Morning” (arguably his best), apparently never reached #1 status, and thus will be bypassed in this otherwise enjoyable series looking back at the 1980s.

  3. Imagine all artists sounding this wonderful as they struggle to find their own style and groove.

    Strait hit the scene fully formed, knowing exactly where he wanted to go. It’s like some country music God created him and just dropped him among us for us to enjoy as he basically just had to tune his guitar to get ready for what would follow.

    He seemingly bypassed any awkward or uncomfortable years of self discovery.

    A teenager with no acne or voice cracks.

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