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Garth Brooks and George Strait Perform Together at the ACM Awards for the First Time – George Strait is an Artist for the Ages

George and Garth
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Everyone knows by now that George Strait and Garth Brooks performed together last night at the ACMs for the first time. That was for me, the highlight of the evening, but the meaning goes so much deeper than just two of the biggest stars in the history of country music together on one stage. The reason that moment last night was so significant was simple…George Strait. Garth Brooks changed the face of country music forever in 1990 in a way that had not been seen since Hank Williams, but it was what George Strait did for country music that allowed Garth to do what he did and make his mark and Garth would be the first to tell you that.

Every time Garth references George Strait, he says, “The King” and he could not be more right. Strait is the king and might be one of the most important figures in country music in terms of where the format is today. Sure, there was incredible greatness before Strait and the list is long; Hank Williams, Robbins, Haggard, Jennings, Nelson and Lefty just to name a few.

What we all need to remember is that no artist in country music history has enjoyed more success, more consistently for a longer period of time than George Strait. The closest one to Strait in terms of consistent success, in my opinion, would be Conway Twitty.

All of the great artists through history, did something to change country music that helped us get to this point, but none of them did it for longer than George Strait. They all had peaks and valleys and in some cases had to reinvent themselves and never matched the success they had at their peak.

Eddy Arnold was a great example of this because Arnold charted at least one record in seven consecutive decades from the 1940s through the 2000s…I don’t believe any other artist has done that except for maybe Tony Bennett. Arnold was constantly having to reinvent himself in order to accomplish what he did.

The one thing George Strait was able to do that no other artist was able to do was stay RELEVANT. Starit is as relevant today as he was when he first started topping the charts in the early 1980s.

Strait is an anomaly that we will probably never see again in country music for the simple fact that it just isn’t set up that way. Even Elvis and The Beatles had those times when they were not as relevant as they were at their peak.

George Strait is a true one and only artist…..nobody will ever duplicate what he has done over the same time period with no gaps.Strait set the stage for all that came after him including and especially, Garth Brooks.

Seeing the two of them on that stage last night together, was something that moved me to tears. They are the reason that country music is what it is and George Strait is the reason Garth Brooks is who he is.

The list of great artists that brought us to this point is in fact, long and storied. All contributed something that allowed the format to grow into what it has. If someone told me to make a list of the artists that made country music what it is and I could use no more than three names, I wouldn’t have to think for very long. Hank Williams, George Strait and Garth Brooks. Just my two cents. It’s great to be country.

 

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