2013 is a year George Strait won’t soon forget. King George kicked off 2013 with the first leg of The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, his final set of tour dates.
On May 14, George released his 40th studio album, Love Is Everything. A week after its release, George made history when his single “Give It All We Got Tonight” topped the charts. The song made him the first music artist in history, in any genre, to record 60 No. 1 songs.
“I didn’t realize we were making history,” he said. “I just hoped we were putting out music that my fans would enjoy. As always, I’m thankful to the fans and country radio for their support on all 60 of these number one songs as well as my entire career. They are the ones who made this happen.”
George had plenty of support to reach the career milestone. Country stars and fans alike joined the ‘Sixty For Sixty’ movement at sixtyforsixty.com to help him reach his 60th No. 1 single, while he was 60 years old. It came down to the last minute as George turned 61 on Saturday, May 18. “I may be 61,” George said, “but I don’t feel a day over 60.”
“The amount of support shown by fans, industry and especially country radio to give George his 60th No. 1 single is the ultimate testament in a format that has been defined by his music,” Royce Risser, SVP Promotion for Universal Music Group Nashville, said. “No one is more deserving of this accomplishment than George Strait, the undeniable King of Country Music.”
There was a steady stream of accolades for King George throughout 2013. In February, he was honored with the Country Radio Broadcasters’ Career Achievement Award, which is presented to an artist or act that has made a significant contribution to the development and promotion of country music and country radio through creativity, vision, performance or leadership. He also received the ASCAP Founders Award and Billboards Legend of Live Award.
No honor was sweeter, however, than the one he picked up at the 47th Annual CMA Awards. George was named Entertainer of the Year, a trophy he’s been nominated for 18 times and won in 1989 and 1990. George was visibly surprised to hear his name called and took a moment to collect himself before walking to the stage while his fellow country stars celebrated around him.
“Never in a million years!” he said as he accepted his award. “Thank you so much to the CMA. I mean, this blows me away. I cannot believe it. With such powerful entertainers, I’m just thrilled to even be nominated again.”
George has announced his final set of tour dates for The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, which will kick off January 9 in Bossier City, Louisiana. The tour’s finale, set for June 7, 2014 at the 100,000 seat AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will feature an all-star lineup including Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Ronnie Dunn, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride and Lee Ann Womack.
While The Cowboy Rides Away is George’s final tour, he will still perform select dates across the country after the tour has wrapped and continue to record new music for his longtime label, MCA Records.