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George Strait's "Love Without End, Amen" Has a Very Personal Backstory for Songwriter Aaron Barker

Perri Ormont Blumberg
·2 min read
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If you're a fan of George Strait, you're likely familiar with his 1990 Billboard Country #1 hit, "Love Without End, Amen."

The way that chorus just jabs you in the heart: "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love / A secret that my daddy said was just between us / He said daddies don't just love their children every now and then / It's a love without end, amen / It's a love without end, amen." Coupled with Strait's captivating vocals, we're goners just about every time we listen.

Little did we know, however, the inspiration behind the chart-topping country music tune, which was penned by songwriter Aaron Barker. "My son was born when I was 17. I was a kid, too. And I saw him in the hospital, and I thought, 'This'll be great. We'll grow up together," Barker told Bart Herbison, executive director of Nashville Songwriters Association International, in a video interview published in partnership with The Tennessean in 2014.

"And that worked for a while. And when he was 16, kids start finding their own independence. He got this car, and he went some places he shouldn't, and on this particular day, it was bad. That Porsche, the guy had just picked it up that day for his birthday. And he was great about it. He kind of laughed about it with me. But that was the night it really came to the reality that I had to be the dad. I couldn't just be his friend. And I got on him pretty hard, and he finally went to bed. It was a school night, and I did what I call 'getting on my knees and playing.'"

Further elaborating on that moment where he started writing from a place deep within, he added, "...I just didn't know if I'd gotten on him too hard, or not hard enough. But the question I was asking is, 'How can you be that mad at somebody and still love them that much? Where does that ability come from?' It's in us all. So I got the guitar and I'm playing and praying and thinking, looking for this answer, and this song was the answer to it."

Above all, Barker likes that this song is inspired by a real story. "It's not a made up, fabricated thing. To have a story that I wrote about my son and have a messenger like George Strait pick it up and sing it, how great is that?...It reached millions of people, more than I ever would have reached with a pulpit, with a little bit of good news for everybody."

Good news and beautiful music for us all to enjoy indeed. It's safe to say we've got a whole new appreciation for this country hit.