About the song

Ah, yes, George Strait and Honky Tonk Crazy. Now that’s a song that takes you right back to the heart of classic country music. Released in 1982 on Strait’s seminal album Strait From The Heart, “Honky Tonk Crazy” became an instant hit, showcasing the Texan singer’s signature smooth vocals and a narrative that perfectly captured the essence of the honky-tonk scene.

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But to truly appreciate “Honky Tonk Crazy,” we need to delve a little deeper. The honky-tonk genre itself has a rich history, stretching back to the early 20th century. These were often working-class bars, filled with the sounds of jukeboxes blaring lively piano tunes and catchy melodies. They were places where people went to unwind, socialize, and maybe even drown their sorrows in a glass or two.

This is the world that Strait paints so vividly in “Honky Tonk Crazy.” The song opens with the narrator declaring his intention to be “honky tonk crazy tonight,” seeking solace in the bar’s atmosphere after a heartbreak. The lyrics, penned by Dean Dillon and Frank Dycus, are simple yet powerful. Lines like “Let the whiskey whisk her out of my mind” become anthems for anyone who’s ever sought refuge from heartache in the bottom of a glass.

It’s important to note that Strait’s portrayal of the honky-tonk isn’t all gloom and doom. There’s a sense of camaraderie, too. The narrator mentions his friends being “around me, telling the latest jokes,” a reminder that these bars were also places for community and shared experiences. The upbeat tempo, driven by a twangy guitar and a steady drumbeat, further reinforces this duality. It’s a song that acknowledges the pain of heartbreak but also celebrates the release that comes with letting loose and forgetting your troubles for a night.

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“Honky Tonk Crazy” was a turning point in Strait’s career. It solidified his position as a leading figure in the neotraditional country movement, a style that harkened back to the golden age of honky-tonk while incorporating modern production techniques. The song’s success also helped pave the way for a wave of neo-traditional artists who would dominate country music in the decades to come.

But beyond its historical significance, “Honky Tonk Crazy” remains a timeless classic. It’s a song that anyone who’s ever felt heartache can connect with. It’s a testament to the enduring power of country music to capture the simple truths of life, love, and loss, all within the warm embrace of a smoky honky-tonk bar.

Video

Lyrics

“Honky Tonk Crazy”

There’s a hundred dollar bill on the table
To get me through the night
Got a tight blue jean honky tonk queen
To hold me tight
And the cowboy bands in mission
Of Texas waltz
It’s music to my ears and a need to hear
To keep me from climbing the wallCause tonight I’ll be honky tonk crazy
Rip roaring wild, one more time
Tonight I’ll be, honky tonk crazy
Let the whiskey whisk her out of my mind
Let the whiskey whisk her out of my mind

Got all my friends around me
Telling the latest jokes
They can’t see the joke’s on me
I’m at the end of my rope
So I step out side and drink one
In the driving rain
That’s all right if I’m high tonight
Cause she’s already drove me insane.

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Cause tonight I’ll be honky tonk crazy
Rip roaring wild, one more time
Tonight I’ll be, honky tonk crazy
Let the whiskey whisk her out of my mind
Let the whiskey whisk her out of my mind
Oh, Let the whiskey whisk her out of my mind