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The Story of How George Strait's "Love Without End, Amen" Came to Be

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
March 12, 2024 3:00 am

The Story of How George Strait's "Love Without End, Amen" Came to Be

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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March 12, 2024 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Songwriter Aaron Barker tells the story of a life altering event in his life as a father that birthed one of country music's greatest songs. An event that brought him to his knees to pray. And play his guitar.

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Find the perfect TCL Roku TV for you today at go.tcl.com slash TCL Roku TV. Welcome to 500 Greatest Songs, a podcast based on Rolling Stone's hugely popular, influential, and sometimes controversial list. I'm Brittany Spanos.

And I'm Rob Sheffield. We're here to shed light on the greatest songs ever made and discover what makes them so great. From classics like Fleetwood Mac's Dreams to the Ronettes' Be My Baby and modern day classics like The Killers' Mr. Brightside, listen to Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs starting on March 13th on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. And we continue here with our American stories. And up next, a story about a song, the story of how George Strait's Love Without End, Amen came to be. Songwriter Aaron Barker's son was born just two weeks after he turned 17. But he wasn't filled with dread at the prospect of being a father at such a young age. Barker's own father, it turns out, wasn't present in his life. What better way to make up for that absence, he figured, than to have a boy, a buddy of his own.

I was with them in the hospital and I thought to myself, this will be great. We'll grow up together, he told a local reporter in Nashville in 2014, laughing at his naivete. It would take Barker a long time to learn that fatherhood entails more, much more than being a friend to a son. More than 16 years, to be precise, when his son reached an age when boys test their father's boundaries, patience, and love.

Here is Barker talking about this very thing at a songwriter's event in Huntsville, Alabama. I had to get on him one night and he had driven his car past where he was supposed to drive his car both ways, everything. All the rules were out the window, so anyway, I had to set him down and have this talk with him.

I got pretty hot and heavy with it. It was a school night, so he finally went to bed and after he went to bed, I was kind of like, it just dawned on me that it was my time to be the dad. And so that was kind of a revelation to me at that point in our lives growing up together. It turns out it wasn't just Barker's son who had a hard time sleeping that night. The father was still trying to process what had happened to him. He had his own doubts about how he'd handled things, not certain he'd administered the proper dosage of discipline to his son.

No father ever is. So Aaron Barker did what a songwriter who happens to be a Christian would do. Let's take a listen. So I'm sitting there kind of doing what I do. My guitar has always been like my therapist, so I kind of call it getting on my knees and playing.

It's somewhere between praying and playing songs and working on stuff, but looking for answers that way. So I was doing that. I was getting on my knees and playing and the question I had was, how can you be that mad at somebody and still love them that much? Where does that come from, you know? And this song is the answer I got that night. It was about four in the morning and I also had a co-writer on this.

It was God. That's when I learned God writes them and lets me put my name on them and he didn't even take publishing on it. The answer to that question he was asking God and to which God had an answer turned out to be the song Love Without End, Amen, which soon wound up in country legend George Strait's capable hands.

The rest was history. The song spent five weeks at number one on what is now called the Hot Country Charts in April of 1990, giving Strait his first multi-week number one song. His prior number one songs, all 18 of them, had spent only a week at the top of the charts. Why did the song resonate with so many music lovers for so long and why does it still resonate today? Barker had his own explanations, one that had less to do with earthly concerns and more to do with those of an eternal variety. The song tells the story of a troublemaking son who's sent home from school one day for fighting, only to find a father who, before disciplining his boy, shares some secret words his own father had shared with him when he'd been in trouble. In the second verse, the narrator has himself become a father and passes along the very same secret words his father had shared with him on a night his own son tested some boundaries. In the third and magnificent final verse, the narrator dreams that he's died and he's standing outside heaven's gate. It is followed by the final chorus, repeated for a third time, but now imbued with a spiritual dimension, a deeply Christian dimension that emphasizes God's unconditional love for all of his sons and daughters.

Here is Barker himself singing that third verse and final chorus. I heard these words again. They said, let me tell you a secret about a father's love, a secret that my daddy said was just being us. You see, daddies don't just love their children every now and then. It's a love without anything. It's a love without anything. Thank you.

All right. For all the fathers out there doing our best to love our children, we're thankful Barker chose to memorialize his deepest struggles and questions that fateful night. His story is the story of all of us who carry the name of father with pride. All of us who believe that being a good father is the world's most important work. All of us who believe that in loving our children unconditionally, we come close to being God-like here on earth. It's not too late to join the best club in America, the father's club and experience love, unconditional love that never ends.

The story of how George traits love without end. Amen came to be the story of fatherhood and so much more here on our American stories. We have been here, the host of our American stories every day on this show. We're bringing inspiring stories from across this great country, stories from our big cities and small towns.

But we truly can't do the show without you. Our stories are free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love what you hear, go to our American stories dot com and click the donate button. Give a little give a lot.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-12 04:17:05 / 2024-03-12 04:21:07 / 4

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