September 13

Story of the Song: “On The Other Hand” by Randy Travis

Young Randy Travis sings On The Other Hand" and "1982"
Randy Travis sings “On The Other Hand” and “1982” live back in 1982.

The First No. 1 Hit for Him

They say that to obtain success, you really need to work for it. Just like in the case of one of 1980’s no. 1 hit songs, “On The Other Hand” written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz. It took two different artists and three releases of the song before gaining top success. It was first recorded by Keith Whitley in 1985 on his album “L.A. to Miami.”

The song was later released by Randy Travis as the lead-off single to his album Storms of Life and it peaked at #67 in the United States. However, it was re-released in April 1986 after the song “1982” peaked. To note, the re-release was his first number-one hit.

How the Song was Written

Overstreet and Schlitz were working on another song and they were going over different options for a line. Then, one said, as he went over the list, “On the other hand” then paused as ideas immediately went off about what he had just said.

The song depicts a man with a wedding band on one hand, who is tempted by another woman. Paul Overstreet said in an interview:

“We were trying to write a theme for another song. It was the idea that when you have one woman, you shouldn’t be looking for another one. I personally was tired of that whole scenario of going from one relationship to another, and not having the strength to really say no in tempting situations. I was hoping we could write a song that would say we had the strength to say no. So right in the middle of that song, we kind of bantered some lines back and forth and Don said ‘but on the other hand,’ and I said, ‘there’s a golden band,'” he continued. “From that point, we looked at each other and kind of got that glitter in our eyes, and finished it real quick. Then we went to lunch.”

Pitching the Song

They took off on a tangent and wrote the song and something else that you probably didn’t know, Merle Haggard was the first pick for recording, the second was George Jones and third was Dan Seals.

When the song was handed over to producer Kyle Lehning, he came back and said he didn’t hear it for Danny (Seals). He said he heard it from a new guy he was recording named Randy Traywick.

This Traywick guy was a cook and dishwasher at the Nashville Palace. He changed from Randy Traywick to a stage name of Randy Travis.

It was a good thing that this song was given to Randy Travis, it really goes with his voice and his style of singing. Do you also think the same?

Let us know by leaving a comment below. Also, don’t forget to share this with your family and friends. God Bless Your Heart!


Paul Overstreet, Randy Travis

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