Murder on Music Row

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"Murder on Music Row"
Song by George Strait with Alan Jackson from the album Latest Greatest Straitest Hits
Released March 7, 2000
Recorded October 27, 1999
Genre Country
Length 4:23
Label MCA Nashville
Writer Larry Cordle, Larry Shell
Producer Tony Brown
Latest Greatest Straitest Hits track listing
"The Best Day"
(1)
"Murder on Music Row"
(2)
"Carrying Your Love with Me"
(3)

"Murder on Music Row" is a song released in 2000 made popular as a duet between country music artists George Strait and Alan Jackson with backup vocals by Lee Ann Womack. Although not released officially as a single, it gained attention for its criticism of mainstream country music trends at the time, and received enough unsolicited airplay to chart at number 38 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) charts.

Content[edit]

"Murder on Music Row" is a lament and criticism of the ongoing trend of country pop crossover acts and pop influences on country music, a trend that has pushed traditional and neotraditional country music (and those who perform it) to the periphery. The lyrics metaphorically compare the pop trend to a horrible act — "an awful murder down on Music Row" — and how "The steel guitar no longer cries and you can't hear fiddles play / But drums and rock and roll guitars are mixed up in your face."[1] In addition, the song states that older traditional country artists "wouldn't stand a chance on today's radio," citing by nickname Hank Williams ("Old Hank"), Merle Haggard ("The Hag"), and George Jones ("The Possum").[2]

Original version[edit]

American bluegrass group Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time originally recorded the song as the title track of their 1999 album Murder on Music Row.[3] Their version was awarded the Song of the Year award at the 2000 International Bluegrass Music Awards.[4]

George Strait/Alan Jackson version[edit]

The song was later covered by Country music artists George Strait and Alan Jackson. Originally, the two singers performed the song together at the 1999 CMA awards show;[5] Strait and Jackson later recorded it for 2000's Latest Greatest Straitest Hits album. The studio version, although never released officially as a single, reached number 38 on the Hot Country Songs chart from unsolicited play and served as the b-side to Strait's late-2000 single "Go On."[6] In 2000, it also received the Country Music Association's award for Vocal Event of the Year,[7] as well as the CMA's Song of the Year award a year later.[3][8]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2000) Peak
position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[9] 47
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[10] 38

Dierks Bentley/George Jones version[edit]

In 2006, Dierks Bentley and George Jones recorded a version of the song that was included on the album Songs of the Year 2007 that was only available in Cracker Barrel restaurants.

References[edit]

External links[edit]