Country singer George Strait began performing in a band while serving in the U.S. Army. He landed a recording contract in the 1980s with MCA records and produced numerous hit albums throughout the next three decades. Known for staying true to traditional country sound, he has won multiple awards and has the biggest-selling boxed set in country music history.
George Strait was born on May 18, 1952, in Poteet, Texas. He was raised on a family-owned farm in nearby Pearsall, Texas, where he studied agriculture at Southwest Texas State University. Strait eloped with his high school sweetheart, Norma, before joining the army. While stationed in Hawaii, he began singing in the Army-sponsored band called Rambling Country. After returning to Texas, he put together his own band, Ace in the Hole, which gained a rather impressive local following.
After years of futile attempts at a record contract, Strait signed a solo contract with MCA Records in 1981. Featuring the hit single “Unwound,” his first album, Strait Country (1981), was influential in increasing the radio play of more traditional, less pop-influenced country music. Strait went on to produce a series of No. 1 albums over the course of the next decade, including Strait From the Heart (1982), Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind (1984), Something Special (1985), Ocean Front Property (1987) and Beyond the Blue Neon (1989), all of which were certified platinum or multi-platinum. In 1989, Strait was named the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year, a feat he repeated in 1990.