It was one of many greatest tragedies to ever befall a significant nation music star. However it’s additionally one which’s hardly ever ever talked about, and we’ve so little background on. To lose a son or daughter in a tragic accident is a type of life-altering occasions that stays with an individual without end. To have it occur proper as your profession is starting to achieve its peak would most likely knock many performers off their axis. However the way in which George Strait processed and approached the tragedy carried numerous knowledge behind it, and had main implications on the performer and persona we all know as “King” George at the moment.
On October sixth, 1972, George Strait and his spouse Norma welcomed their first baby into the world named Jenifer, spelled with only one ‘n’. Strait was barely 20-years-old himself on the time, and had eloped together with his highschool sweetheart Norma Voss to Mexico in December of the earlier yr. He’d additionally enlisted in the USA Military as an infantryman, and was ultimately shipped off to the Pacific to be stationed in Hawaii. That is the place Jenifer was born.
Initially from the tiny city of Poteet, Texas south of San Antonio, after Strait was discharged from the Military in 1975, he moved to San Marcos the place he studied at Southwest Texas State, which is now referred to as Texas State College. That is additionally the place he shaped his Ace within the Gap Band, and began performing in close by venues such because the Cheatham Road Warehouse, and the legendary Gruene Corridor in New Braunfels.
All through the late 70s and into the early 80s, George Strait recurrently traveled to Nashville to try to land a report deal, ultimately signing to MCA Information and recording albums there. However San Marcos is the place Strait continued to reside, elevating his younger household away from the highlight and the bustle of the music enterprise in Nashville.
George Strait landed his first #1 hit in 1982 with “Idiot Hearted Reminiscence,” after which just a few extra in 1983 and 1984 with songs like “You Look So Good in Love,” and “Let’s Fall to Items Collectively.” In 1985 he earned his first ever #1 album with Does Fort Price Ever Cross Your Thoughts, and was additionally awarded the CMAs Male Vocalist of the 12 months award. By 1986, George Strait had ascended from a outsider from Texas to one of many greatest artists in all of nation music. Issues couldn’t be going higher in his profession. That’s when tragedy struck.
On June 25, 1986, Jenifer Strait was using round San Marcos with a few buddies in a Ford Mustang. 13-years-old on the time, she was with 16-year-old William Allen McDonald, 17-year-old Joseph Wiley Robbins, and 18-year-old Gregory Wilson Allen, who was driving. At about 11:55 pm, Allen turned sharply onto a facet street, inflicting the automotive to skid and flip, and ultimately land on its high in a ditch.
The motive force, Gregory Wilson Allen, walked away from the incident and was unharmed. William Allen McDonald and Joseph Wiley Robbins each suffered minor accidents, had been handled at a neighborhood hospital, and launched. Jenifer Strait although, she was partially ejected from the car throughout the crash, and ultimately died on the scene. Not one of the occupants had been carrying seat belts.
Gregory Wilson Allen was ultimately charged with Class A vehicular murder in reference to the loss of life of Jenifer Strait. An investigation decided that an extreme price of pace contributed to the accident, however that alcohol was not an element. A funeral service was held on the First United Methodist Church in San Marcos, TX, with Jenifer Strait ultimately being buried in Pearsall, TX.
The loss of life of Jenifer Strait was an unspeakable tragedy for George Strait and his household. They arrange the Jenifer Lynn Strait Basis, which donates cash to youngsters’s charities within the San Antonio space. And as a result of tragedy, George Strait made a significant profession determination that he’s caught to ever since, and considerably impacts how we understand the nation legend: he hardly ever to by no means provides interviews.
Strait was already a really personal individual. That was one of many many causes he selected to remain in San Marcos whilst his profession exploded. Going through the prospect of at all times being bombarded with questions in regards to the tragedy, George Strait determined to only not grant any interviews in any respect afterwards. At a time earlier than the Web when journal interviews and radio station appearances had been the first method an artist promoted themselves, this was a dangerous transfer. In one of many few interviews George Strait did grant in 2017 with The New Yorker, he stated,
“I simply didn’t really feel like speaking about it, so I give up…I did need to maintain singing, completely. However I used to be on the level the place I’m [like], ‘Alright, if that is going to value me my profession, then so be it, nevertheless it’s the one method I’m going to have the ability to deal with it.’ It simply form of turned out the way in which it did. It wasn’t an intentional factor.”
George Strait let the music communicate for itself, and it spoke volumes. Between 1986 and 1989, amid the tragedy and in its aftermath, Strait racked up eleven consecutive #1 singles, which at the moment in nation music was just about exceptional. He additionally was awarded the CMA Entertainer of the 12 months in each 1989 and 1990. A type of #1 singles was the tune “Child Blue.” Although it has by no means been formally confirmed, it’s believed George Strait recorded and sang the tune in reminiscence of his daughter Jenifer. The tune was written by Aaron Barker, and co-produced by Strait with Jimmy Bowen.
Jenifer Strait would have turned 50-years-old at the moment, October sixth, 2022. George Strait additionally has a son, George Strait Jr., who he affectionately calls “Bubba.” They generally write songs collectively lately. However it’s unquestionable that the loss of life of Jenifer Strait simply as his profession began to peak affected George Strait in methods which can be arduous to measure. Whenever you consider George Strait, you consider that calm, regular, reserved and stoic hand on the wheel. Maybe if it wasn’t for the loss of life of Jenifer, he might have been a bit much less inhibited and a bit extra outspoken.
However to get by means of the tragedy of shedding his daughter, George Strait needed to be the rock for his household, and that’s how he turned the rock for nation music. Because the “Class of ’89” happened with guys like Garth Brooks and Travis Tritt, George Strait remained composed, and nation. And that’s additionally how he turned often known as the present “King” of nation music.