September 19

Love Song for Grandpa, “He Walked on Water” by Randy Travis

Love Song for Grandpa, “He Walked on Water” by Randy Travis 1

“The race gets tough as just before you get to the finish line.” These were the words that started the song “He Walked on Water.” Written by Allen Shamblin and recorded by one of the voices of country music, Randy Travis. It was released in April 1990 as the third single from Travis’ album ‘No Holdin’ Back.’

Country music songwriter Allen Shamblin was born in Tennessee who was brought up in Huffman, Texas. After he graduated from Sam Houston State University, he worked in Austin as a real estate appraiser.

In 1987, he quit his job and moved to Nashville to become a songwriter. He supported himself by parking cars and working in a warehouse. In live performances, he tells stories about his parents sending him money to survive and was about to give up on being a songwriter. However, everything turned around when he got his first hit, but it was not that easy.

In an interview, he said that during before he got his break, his publisher was not happy about his progress. He also admitted that he wasn’t happy about it either. Until one day he Don Schlitz called him saying that he was doing an Austin City Limits. Schlitz asked him to hang out and he said yes. During the show, Shamblin met Mike Reed and they had a conversation and he told reed that it wasn’t doing well for him. Then, Reed said “go back to Nashville and write something you care about,” which Shamblin did. He arrived on Sunday evening and when he woke up the next morning, he switched the TV on and someone said that “there’s someone out there is giving up on their dream.” When he turned around, he was pointing at him and told him “Don’t give up on your dream. The race gets tough as just before you get to the finish line.” He replied with “I receive.” Thereafter, he immediately started writing and the words “He wore starched white shirts buttoned at the neck, and he’d sit in the shade and watch the chickens peck.
And his teeth were gone, but what the heck” came out of nowhere. He wrote it down and thought that “neck, peck and heck” was corny but he thank the lord. Eventhough he already started the song, he still doesn’t know what the song was about. He started to walk circling around and the words “I thought that he walked on water” came out of his mouth. Then he had goosebumps and tears in his eyes and he remembered his great-grandfather. He sat down and the song poured like a honey out of a jar, as fast as he could write. After finishing the song, he went his publisher and played it. His publisher loved it, however, it was missing the chorus said his publisher. He went home and he wrote the chorus as fast as he can. The song was finished, he went to his buddies and asked them if he could play them a song and after sing the song they were crying. From that point, he thought “Now I’ve written as song.”

Good stories from good people. In my opinion, this song is totally perfect for Randy Travis. His voice and his personality goes with it, am I right? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below and don’t forget to share this story to other country fans.



Randy Travis

  • I just love this song and listen to it A LOT! (IiPhones are a blessing.). Such a sweet sentiment and so beautifully performed. I grew up in the suburbs of Houston Texas but spent a lot of time in the summers at the homes of my maternal and paternal grandparents who lived in rural areas of Texas and Louisiana, and from whom come some of my fondest memories.

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