Everyone knows that Christopher Walken famously asked for “more cowbell” from the fictional SNL version of the rock band Blue Oyster Cult, but country fans would prefer more fiddle.

The country group Alabama certainly got straight to the point with the song “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band),” which released on this date in 1984.

Funny enough, the tune was actually released as a B-Side track on their album Roll On. The A-side was their popular song “I’m Not That Way Anymore,” and though that also had some commercial success, it was nowhere close to how their “ode to the fiddle” performed on the country charts.

“If You’re Gonna Play in Texas” got a ton of radio play by country music stations thanks to its high energy and catchy chorus. Thanks to the positive response from fans and critics alike, the Alabama song quickly made its way to number one spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. It was the 14th-consecutive time that the band had a number-one single on the chart.

I’ll go ahead and apologize for getting this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day. The chorus is simple, yet incredibly contagious:

“If you’re gonna play in TexasYou gotta have a fiddle in the bandThat lead guitar is hotBut not for “Louisiana Man”

So rosin up that bow for “Faded Love”And let’s all danceIf you’re gonna play in TexasYou gotta have a fiddle in the band.”

You can’t go wrong with any version of this song. The studio rendition is great on its own, but it’s almost as if the tune was meant to be performed live.

So that’s why I’ve included Alabama’s performance of the track at Farm Aid in 1986, in front of a rowdy Austin, Texas crowd. How fitting…

And just like the song says, they without a doubt had a fiddle in the band while they were playing in Texas. After the third time around with the chorus, a legendary fiddle solo breaks out that should go down as one of the best fiddle performances in the history of music.

Check it out:


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