The incredible chart history of Texan country music giant George Strait has continued uninterrupted across four decades. He scored his first No.1 in 1982 with “Fool Hearted Memory” and has proceeded to collect chart-toppers over the ensuing decades like other people collect stamps.
On March 23, 1991, Strait was back in his second home, Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, with the lead single from his then-brand new 11th studio album Chill Of An Early Fall. The song in question was the pretty ballad “If I Know Me,” written by Pam Belford and Dean Dillon, and a clever take on the old romantic idea of a pair of lovers who can never quite say goodbye.
The track rapidly went into heavy rotation on both CMT (Country Music Television) and TNN (The Nashville Network) and came onto the country chart that week at No.68. By early May, it was spending two weeks at the summit, becoming George’s 21st No.1 single.
Four hit albums at once
As a measure of Strait’s supremacy, as Chill Of An Early Fall prepared to make its debut, he was still on the country album chart with three previous releases: his last studio set Livin’ It Up, going strong in its 42nd week; Greatest Hits Vol.2, in its 182nd week; and his first Greatest Hits collection, with a spectacular 279 weeks.
Chill Of An Early Fall duly entered the country album countdown in early April 1991, reaching No.4 and spending more than a year on the bestsellers, with 58 weeks. Three more hit singles came from the album in the next few months, as the George Strait hit machine raced ahead. “You Know Me Better Than That” became his 22nd No.1, then the album’s title track reached No.3. Next, in an extremely rare dip below the Top 10, Strait’s cover of the Hank Williams favourite “Lovesick Blues” peaked at No.24.
“If I Know Me” is on the album Chill Of An Early Fall, which can be bought here.
Follow the All-Time Greatest Country Hits playlist.