Written by Dean Dillon
and Frank Dycus, who penned Strait's first hit, "Unwound
," this raw country number originally appeared on Dillon's first album with outlaw country singer Gary Stewart, Brotherly Love
, earlier in 1982. Dillon hitchhiked to Nashville as a teen in the early '70s and immediately started writing songs, often fueled by a combination of heartache and hard living. Dycus was already a seasoned songwriter, having penned hits for Jerry Lee Lewis and Porter Wagoner, and was having trouble keeping up with his younger counterpart.
"Dean's the kind of guy who loves all the attention," Dycus told Nu Country TV. "He loves to have all the girls flocking around him - he tips the waitress $10 bills. I'm the opposite - I don't want anyone to know who I am. I was getting mad at him because he was introducing himself to all the ladies. I wanted to leave but I was with him and couldn't leave. We were in this rough section of town where you get your throat cut if you're not careful after midnight. He said 'you can't leave because I got the car.' I said 'you watch my arse go out the door.' I walked 10 miles to a truck stop cross the river and through the woods. I called my wife to come and get me. It was about 3 o'clock in the morning. She said 'where's Dean?' And I said 'he's Honky Tonk Crazy, he's rip roaring wild.' When I got home I jotted it down. I didn't try to write it that night. Me and Dean got together about three or four days later and wrote the song."