About the song

If you’re a fan of country music, chances are you’ve heard George Strait’s iconic rendition of “Amarillo by Morning”. The song, which was released as a single in 1983, showcases Strait’s smooth vocals and fiddle skills over a Western-style melody. But did you know that Strait was not the first artist to record this song? In fact, the song has a rich and fascinating history that spans decades and genres.

The song was written by Terry Stafford and Paul Fraser, who were both rock musicians in the 1960s. Stafford had a hit with “Suspicion”, which was originally recorded by Elvis Presley. Fraser was a member of the band The Champs, best known for their instrumental “Tequila”. Stafford got the idea for “Amarillo by Morning” while driving home to Amarillo, Texas, after playing at a rodeo show in San Antonio. He was inspired by a FedEx commercial that promised to deliver packages to places like Amarillo by the next morning .

Stafford recorded the song in 1973 for his album Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose. His version was more pop-oriented than Strait’s, and it reached number 31 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. However, it was not until 10 years later that the song would become a country classic, thanks to Strait’s interpretation.

Strait recorded the song for his 1982 album Strait from the Heart, which also featured his first number one hit, “Fool Hearted Memory”. His version of “Amarillo by Morning” was more faithful to the Western roots of the song, with prominent fiddle and steel guitar parts. It also highlighted the lyrical theme of the rodeo cowboy’s lonely and hard life on the road. The song peaked at number four on the Hot Country Songs chart and became one of Strait’s signature songs.

The song has since been covered by many other artists, such as Garth Brooks, Chris LeDoux, Kelly Clarkson, and Cody Johnson. It has also been recognized as one of the best country songs of all time by various publications and organizations. In 2004, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The song’s enduring appeal lies in its simple yet powerful message of freedom, resilience, and hope.

In this blog post, we will explore the history and meaning of “Amarillo by Morning”, as well as some of the most memorable performances of this song. We will also share some tips on how to play and sing this song yourself. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you can learn something new from this timeless country classic.



Amarillo by morning, up from San Antone.
Everything that I’ve got is just what I’ve got on.
When that sun is high in that Texas sky
I’ll be bucking it to county fair.
Amarillo by morning, Amarillo I’ll be there.

They took my saddle in Houston, broke my leg in Santa Fe.
Lost my wife and a girlfriend somewhere along the way.
Well I’ll be looking for eight when they pull that gate,
And I’m hoping that judge ain’t blind.
Amarillo by morning, Amarillo’s on my mind.

Amarillo by morning, up from San Antone.
Everything that I’ve got is just what I’ve got on.
I ain’t got a dime, but what I got is mine.

I ain’t rich, but Lord I’m free.
Amarillo by morning, Amarillo’s where I’ll be.
Amarillo by morning, Amarillo’s where I’ll be.