George Strait? Yeah, a HUGE Tom Petty Fan

This story has been updated.

It’s not that it’s especially strange for someone to be a fan of Tom Petty. Nearly any music fan, country or otherwise, is probably a Tom Petty fan too. It’s just that when you think of George Strait, you think of the quintessential straight-laced and starched Wranglers good ol’ country guy whose idea of a wild time might be playing some George Jones just a little bit too loud on a Saturday night, not singing along to “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”

But as folks who’ve been following George Strait for a while now can attest, he can hardly contain his appreciation for Tom Petty. Strait started covering Petty’s “You Wreck Me” from Petty’s 1994 record Wildflowers in 2014 during his farewell Cowboy Rides Away tour. Since then Strait’s tour schedule has been sparse, and mostly centered around a few stadium shows a year and a Las Vegas residency for a few weekends. But “You Wreck Me” almost always makes it into the set list, as does some Petty praise.

“This might surprise a lot of people, but I became a Tom Petty fan here a while back,” George Strait told a crowd in Louisville, KY on March 7th, 2014—the first time he was documented playing Petty on stage, performing “You Wreck Me” as part of his encore set. Interesting to note, Strait’s love for Petty came after the rocker went on record strongly criticizing much of modern country music, calling it “Bad rock with a fiddle,” ruffling the feathers of Florida Georgia Line and others.

Like most everyone else, George Strait was forced to cancel the 2020 live dates he had planned, and instead has been at home rehabbing a knee that he had replaced right before the COVID-19 quarantine came down. He’s also been spending the time jotting some ideas down for some new songs. But George Strait is most excited about sharing a live version of Petty’s “You Wreck Me” on SiriusXM.

“I took one of our live versions of ‘You Wreck Me’ by the late and great Tom Petty and sent it to his channel on Sirius radio to see if they might play it,” Strait told Billboard recently. “I’m very proud to say that they are. My band was amazing on that song. I’m a huge Petty fan.”

George Strait was also one of the big names that honored and performed for Tom Petty in 2017 as part of the MusiCares Person of the Year gala held in his honor on February 10th. Petty died later that year on October 2nd, but not before George Strait got to share his appreciation for Petty personally.

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