April 23, 2008 - When George Strait climbed to No. 1 on the national country singles chart this week, he set a new mark, becoming the first artist to have 56 No. 1 hits in any specific genre. Elvis Presley never did it. Madonna never did it. James Brown never did it. The Beatles never did it.
George had been tied with the late Conway Twitty, who amassed 55 No. 1 country hits in significant industry magazines: 48 as a solo artist, seven in duets with Loretta Lynn.
"It was never a goal of mine," George told Country Countdown USA. "Of course, my goal was to have a No. 1 record, but who'd [have] ever thought I'd have that many? It's an incredible thing to think about. Conway was such a great artist. I was such a huge fan of his and still am. It's no wonder he had such huge success: He was a great singer and great entertainer. I was fortunate enough to do some shows with Conway early in my career. He was always such a nice guy, and he didn't need to be. So to accomplish something that he accomplished is certainly an honor for me."
As it turns out, George and Conway had a lot in common. Record producer Jimmy Bowen worked with both of them, and he says their attitudes toward music were very much alike.
"They made the decision on what songs to record they knew what was right for them," Jimmy said. "All we had to do was get the songs to them. And both led regular lives. Both treated music as a business. Some artists crave adulation and have to work every day. Both of these guys calmly looked at it as a business."
With all those No. 1s, George and Conway both did very good business indeed. And George has more to do ...