Birth: 1959-5-4 | Birthplace: Marshville, North Carolina
Randy Travis helped country music achieve a new level of success when his arrival in the mid-1980s signaled the start of the “New Country” sales explosion. He was the first country artist to go platinum with his disc debut and the first debut country artist to go multi-platinum. Travis was also a forerunner of country’s “hot hunks” era of the 1990s, in which dozens of handsome young male stars came to the fore. He paved the way for Alan Jackson, Clint Black, Garth Brooks, and Tim McGraw, among others.
After winning the CMA Horizon Award in 1986, Travis went on to win Male Vocalist in 1987 and 1988. “Forever And Ever, Amen” won Single of the Year and Always And Forever was named Album of the Year, both in 1987. Three of his performances have resulted in Song of the Year honors: “On The Other Hand” (1986), “Forever And Ever, Amen” (1987), and “Three Wooden Crosses” (2003).
Travis is noted for thematic albums such as Heroes And Friends (1990), which paid homage to his country heroes; Wind In The Wire (1993), which saluted cowboy music; and Worship & Faith (2003), a collection of hymns. His other gospel collections have included Glory Train (2005), Inspirational Journey (2000), Rise And Shine (2002) and Blessed Assurance (2011). He also has released Christmas collections.
Travis became one of country music’s outstanding sales phenomena. In his first three years of stardom, he sold in excess of 13 million units. The RIAA puts his sales total to date at 18 million units. He is one of the fifteen top solo male country record sellers of all time. Thirteen of his albums are certified gold; of these, eight have gone platinum and four are multi-platinum. No Holdin’ Back and Old 8x10 are double platinum. Storms Of Life is triple platinum. Always And Forever has passed the 5 million mark. Travis was the first country artist to issue two albums simultaneously, 1992’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1 and Greatest Hits Vol. 2. Both went platinum.
Travis has had twenty-nine Top Ten country hits and has taken sixteen songs to the top of Billboard’s country charts. Among the classic songs he has introduced are “1982,” “On The Other Hand,” “Diggin’ Up Bones,” “Forever And Ever, Amen,” “He Walked On Water,” “Look Heart, No Hands,” and “Three Wooden Crosses.” “Point Of Light” (1991) was the theme song of President George H. W. Bush’s volunteerism campaign. He has revived the classics “King Of The Road” and “It’s Just A Matter Of Time.” Travis scored another chart comeback in 2009 when Carrie Underwood released her rendition of his “I Told You So.” His voice was added to hers for a “duet” version, and this became a Top Ten pop and country smash and won a Grammy for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.
In addition to his CMA awards, Travis has received many honors, including seven Grammys, nine ACM awards, ten American Music awards, two People’s Choice awards, seven Music City News awards, and eight Dove awards from the Gospel Music Association. Travis was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry cast in 1986. In 2004, he received his own star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In addition to “I Told You So,” his hits as a songwriter have included “Promises,” “Heroes And Friends,” “The Box” and his Alan Jackson collaborations “Forever Together,” “Better Class Of Losers,” “I’d Surrender All,” and “She’s Got The Rhythm (And I Got The Blues).”
As an actor, Randy Travis has appeared in more than twenty feature films, including The Rainmaker, Maverick, The Legend Of O. B. Taggert, Black Dog, White River Kid, Texas Rangers, Boys Will Be Boys, T-N-T, The Shooter, Storm Of The Heart, Fortune Hunters, and Baby Geniuses. His TV movies include Frank And Jesse, Steel Chariots, At Risk, Edie And Pen, A Dead Man’s Revenge, and A Holiday To Remember. He has also guest-starred on the TV series Matlock, King Of The Hill, Sabrina, and Touched By An Angel.
In 2011, Randy Travis celebrated his 25th anniversary as a country star with the all-star album Anniversary Celebration. On it, he was joined by Brad Paisley, the Zac Brown Band, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Jackson, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, John Anderson, Joe Stampley, Gene Watson, James Otto, Ray Price, Lorrie Morgan, and Connie Smith. Other artists participating included Shelby Lynne, Don Henley, Jamey Johnson, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Josh Turner, Eamonn McCrystal, George Jones, and Carrie Underwood.
Travis’s charities include the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the March of Dimes, the Salvation Army, and Operation Smile.