Known as the "King of Country," George Strait boasts 33 platinum or multi-platinum-selling albums, more than any country artist and third across all genres behind only The Beatles and Elvis Presley.
Strait enlisted in the United States Army in 1971. While stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii as a part of the 25th Infantry Division, he performed his first paying gig. Strait recalled to Billboard magazine: "I had auditioned with a group of guys and a girl. They called themselves the Country Kings. I played one gig with them, and I don't even remember how much they paid me. They thought I wasn't country enough, and let me go. That's really funny now, but it wasn't at the time. I didn't let it faze me much, though. I got another opportunity not long after that [in a band called Rambling Country], which became my Army gig until I got out."
Strait was honorably discharged from the Army in 1975, after which he enrolled at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos where he graduated with a degree in agriculture.
He signed a recording contract with MCA in February 1981. Strait released his first single for MCA Records in the spring of that year. Titled "Unwound", it climbed to #6 on the country chart.
His 1987 album Ocean Front Property was the first country LP to enter the US album charts at #1.
Conway Twitty had held the record for over 20 years regarding having the most #1s on the Billboard country chart. George Strait overtook Twitty's mark in September 2006 when "Give It Away
" advanced to #1, his 41st country song to achieve pole position.
On May 7, 2011 DJ Paul Gambaccini reported on his BBC Radio 2 show that with 69 million albums sold, Strait is the most successful American artist who has failed to chart in the UK.
When "Give It All We Got Tonight
" was released on October 29, 2012, a 'Sixty For Sixty' campaign was organised to help accomplish the historic milestone of giving Strait his 60th #1 single while he was 60-years-old. It came down to the last minute as it finally reached the top of the Mediabase Country Aircheck chart as the most played song on Country radio a few days before the Nashville legend's 61st birthday. In doing so, Strait became the first artist in any genre of music to place 60 songs at the top of the mediabase charts.
In 2013, Strait set out on The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, a year-and-a-half, cross-country final concert tour. He shattered the North American single show concert attendance record by drawing 104,793 concert-goers to his June 7, 2014 tour finale at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The concert also set a record for the largest gross at a single-show country concert, $18,194,374.
George's daughter Jenifer was tragically killed in an automobile accident in San Marcos on June 25, 1986, at the age of 13. The family set up the Jenifer Lynn Strait Foundation, which donates money to children's charities in the San Antonio area. His 1988 #1 song "Baby Blue
" talks about a girl with baby blue eyes who was in his life for a short time, but he still thinks of her often. Though it has never been confirmed, it has long been thought that Strait sang this song for Jenifer.