Don Schlitz

Birth: 1952-08-29 | Birthplace: Durham, North Carolina

Inducted: 2017

Don Schlitz is among the most impactful and eloquent songwriters in country music history.

Schlitz’s first hit came in 1978, when Kenny Rogers recorded “The Gambler,” an epic composition that garnered a Grammy Award and that became both a signature song for Rogers and a highlight of country music’s modern era. Schlitz went on to co-write major hits including “On the Other Hand,” “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “When You Say Nothing at All,” “Strong Enough to Bend,” “Old School,” “Gimme Wings,” “Deeper Than the Holler,” “I Take My Chances,” “I Feel Lucky,” “Learning to Live Again,” and many more. His songs have been recorded by Country Music Hall of Fame members Alabama, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, George Strait, and Randy Travis.

Elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1993 and to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012, Schlitz is known for songs that brim with wisdom and empathy. For decades, those songs have been heard during regular appearances at Nashville’s Bluebird Café, where Schlitz co-created the now-prevalent “in-the-round” format with collaborators Fred Knobloch, Paul Overstreet, and Thom Schuyler.