Songwriter Dean Dillon shared the entertaining tale behind one of country music's top '80s hits.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
March 31, 2021

For fans of George Strait, the chart-topping hit "The Chair" is pretty much a grand slam: poetic, simple, catchy (and there's not even a chorus!). But the 1985 romantic ballad doesn't exactly have dreamy origins: It was quickly penned by two songwriting pals coming off a late-night bender.

54th Academy Of Country Music Awards - Roaming Show
Credit: Rich Fury/ACMA2019/Getty Images for ACM

One of those song-spinning amigos, Dean Dillon, spoke with Texas Monthly in 2014 about how the beloved Strait tune came to be. After fortuitously meeting the ex-wife of already established songwriter Hank Cochran at a Nashville bar, Dillon wound up at Cochran's house and is asked to play some music for the hit-maker. Thoroughly impressed, Cochran invites him to the Bahamas with him...leaving the next morning. That trip sealed the deal and for the next five or so years, the songwriting duo was inseparable, spending much time getting their work done on Cochran's boat, "The Legend," and traveling around the Caribbean.

Soon, the gem that is "The Chair" was written: "On one of those trips, we had Royce Porter fly down for a couple days to write with us. We spent one day working on a couple ideas of mine. I told them, 'I wanna write a song called "Miami, My Amy," and I got another idea called "Homecoming '63."' So we wrote those two songs, and then Royce went back to Nashville, and Hank and I started celebrating, because we knew those songs were some of the best stuff we'd ever written," Dillon told the outlet.

"By about four in the morning, I had drunk so much whiskey that I had actually drunk myself sober; I didn't know you could do that, but I did it. I was tired though, and it was four in the morning again, like it always seemed to be for me and Hank," Dillon continued. "And I don't know what happened, but then Hank sat down in a chair across from me, and I looked at him, picked up the guitar, struck a G chord, and started singing, 'Well, excuse me, but I think you've got my chair.' And he said, 'Have you written that song?' I said, 'No.' And he said, 'Well, we're about to.' And 45 minutes later, we'd written 'The Chair.'"

Ultimately, the song wound up on Strait's roster, and the rest, as they say, is chair-story. What a powerful force behind Strait's success Dillon is, having written more than 50 of the country star's songs. Pretty impressive considering Dillon's career really launched with a chance encounter at a bar, huh?

Watch the music video for "The Chair" below.

Yep, still one of the most poetic, simple, and catchy country tunes around. What a gorgeous song.

What's your favorite George Strait song? If you look up its songwriting credits, there's a pretty good chance Dillon is behind it.