Randy Travis is no songwriter but one of the best country singer. His signature song was written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz.
The Hit Writers
During the early 1980’s he moved to Nashville. He worked silently for several years until a twist happened. He teamed up with Don Schlitz. At this point, Don Schlitz already had a taste of success with Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler.” In the meantime, Overstreet was caught up with alcoholism for several years. He turned to religion and fortunately, he was able to find sobriety. With God in his life, he turned his life around. That happened just before he worked with Schlitz. One of the first songs they wrote was Randy Travis’ “On The Other Hand.” It was not a surprise that the song would be a hit. Thereafter, Randy Travis wanted the duo to produce another golden moment for him.
A Love Song Like a Gospel
The idea of “Forever and Ever, Amen” was from the combination of a prayer and a declaration of love. As Schlitz’s wife would tuck their young son into bed at night, the boy would say his prayer and finished up by saying:
“Mommy, I love you forever and ever, amen.”
Thinking about the sweet and innocent message, Schlitz brought it to Overstreet. The two men sat down and started to write and for a couple of hours, “Forever and Ever, Amen” was finished. They immediately recorded the song the next day.
An Embarrassing Moment Added to the Song
Not only does the hit embodies a sweet message but it also has a set of key lines from a hair salon. Those key lines came from a now-funny but then-embarrassing experience. Overstreet’s wife had been a hair stylist when she first met him. Once, she mixed the wrong solution and accidentally dyed a friend’s hair green. The two tunesmiths turned that inside joke into a line of hair. It went:
“They say time takes its toll on a body, makes a young girl’s brown hair turn grey. Honey I don’t care, I ain’t in love with your hair, and if it all fell out, I’d love you anyway.”
The Perfect Voice for the Song
The two men high-tailed it over to Warner Bros. offices to play the demo for label executive Martha Sharp. She was the one who screened most of the material earmarked for Randy Travis. She agreed that the song would be an immediate hit. Randy Travis loved it. He instantly scheduled the studio time to record the number for a new album project. As Randy Travis and his producer Kyle listened to “Forever and Ever, Amen,” they realized, after some brief thought. They had the title of Travis’s 2nd album staring them right in the face: “Always and Forever.”
“Forever and Ever, Amen” was chosen to be the lead-off single from the new album, debuting on Billboard’s country singles chart on April 25, 1987. Warner Bros. released the “Always and Forever” album on May 4th. Within two months it had gone platinum with over a million units sold, largely due to the incredible power of “Forever and Ever, Amen,” which had reached #1 on June 13th and stayed there for three weeks, the first single to do that since Johnny Lee’s “Lookin’ For Love” seven years earlier. “Forever and Ever, Amen” picked up two Grammy awards and earned honors as “Single of the Year” from the Country Music Association, and “Song of the Year” from the Academy of Country Music.
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Always and Forever, Don Schlitz, Paul Overstreet, Randy Travis
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