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Flashback: George Strait Asks ‘What’s Going on in Your World’

Released 30 years ago today, Strait’s 17th Number One hit was also performed live at the ACM Awards in 1989

Thirty years ago today, on April 3rd, 1989, MCA Records artist George Strait released the single “What’s Going on in Your World,” a track from his album Beyond the Blue Neon. A mournful, hard-country tune replete with tearful fiddle lines and a classic Strait performance, the song’s first releases listed David Chamberlain and Royce Porter as writers but later added the name of legendary cowboy poet-songwriter Red Steagall, owing perhaps to obvious similarities to Steagall’s 1973 tune, “What’s Happening in Your World.” Both songs used a similar hook line, with Steagall asking “What’s happening in your world, is it as lonesome as mine?” while Strait’s sadly proclaims, “It sure is lonesome in mine.”

Lonesome or not, Strait’s world in early 1989 actually looked quite rosy. “What’s Going on in Your World” was his 25th single, issued by the same label that signed him in 1981 and which just released his 30th studio LP, the excellent Honky Tonk Time Machine. It hit country radio at the same time his previous single “Baby’s Gotten Good at Goodbye” — from the same album — reached Number One. “What’s Going on in Your World” would be the Texan’s 10th consecutive chart-topper and 17th to date.

On April 10th, 1989, the 24th annual ACM Awards ceremony and dinner was presented on NBC from Disneyland. Strait would serve as co-host, along with singer K.T. Oslin and actor Patrick Duffy. Oslin and Strait were, respectively, honored as Top Female and Male Vocalist, and during his acceptance speech, Strait referenced his son, future musician and co-writer George Strait Jr., also known as “Bubba,” who was just shy of his eighth birthday at the time. “It’s been a while,” Strait said. “This means a lot to me. My little boy’s been asking me, ‘Dad, when are you gonna win another award?’ We got one tonight, Bubba!”

In addition to co-hosting duties and picking up his “hat” trophy, Strait debuted “What’s Going on in Your World,” which would top the charts in July, followed by “Ace in the Hole” in November. A year after this performance he would pick up another ACM honor, this time as Entertainer of the Year. Strait will return to the ACM stage, this time in Las Vegas, for a duet with Miranda Lambert when the 54th annual gala airs live on CBS, Sunday, April 7th.

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