Dean Dillon • Poets & Prophets, 2008
Country Music Hall of Fame • 1h 24m
Dean Dillon—one of the most successful and influential songwriters in country music, and a major source of hits for Country Music Hall of Fame member George Strait—talks about his career during a 2008 “Poets and Prophets” interview at the Museum, augmented by live performances, video and audio clips, and scores of personal and professional photos.
In all, Strait has recorded more than sixty of Dillon’s songs, making their collaborative relationship unique in country music history. “If I look back over my life, and the relationship I’ve had with George, and obviously the music he’s done of mine, two words come to mind about that day,” Dillon says. “It’s called ‘divine intervention.’ I dare say my life would be vastly different if not for the relationship I’ve had with him.”
During the program, Dillon sings “The Chair”—a 1985 Strait standard that Dillon co-wrote with Hank Cochran—accompanied by songwriter and guitarist Scotty Emerick. Singer Con Hunley also sings a soulful version of his 1981 hit single “What’s New with You,” co-written by Dillon.
Besides his lengthy list of Strait hits, Dillon’s famous songs include “By Now” by Steve Wariner, “Tennessee Whiskey” by George Jones and David Allan Coe, “Leave Them Boys Alone” by Hank Williams Jr., “Homecoming ’63” by Keith Whitley, “Set ’Em Up, Joe” by Vern Gosdin, “Spilled Perfume” and “All the Good Ones Are Gone” by Pam Tillis, “A Chance” and “A Lot of Things Different” by Kenny Chesney, “ and “Good News, Bad News,” a duet by Strait and Womack that won a CMA Award for Musical Event of the Year.
Dean Dillon was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2020 and inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002, the same year as Bob Dylan and Shel Silverstein. During the program, he talks about the influence of Merle Haggard and James Taylor, two favorites from his youth. At one point early in his songwriting career, he explains, he wanted to “weld James Taylor’s melodies with the honesty of the Haggard stuff, to see what I’d get out of that.”
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