Top 10 Randy Travis Songs
Randy Travis’ songs are timeless, and the singer is one of the most important country music artists of his generation.
Travis’ 1986 debut, Storms of Life, helped touch off the neo-traditionalist movement that brought Nashville back to its true country roots in the ’80s. Since then, Travis has enjoyed an impressive run: He’s charted more than 50 singles on the Billboard charts, including 16 No. 1 hits.
Travis has made forays into acting and spent several years focused on gospel music, but the majority of the tracks in our list of the Top 10 Randy Travis Songs display what the singer does best — good, old-fashioned traditional country music.
“Look Heart, No Hands”
Travis scored a big hit with this mid-tempo track, which compares falling in love to riding a bicycle downhill without holding on to the handlebars. The singer was at the peak of his success, releasing two greatest hits albums on the same day. “Look Heart, No Hands” was the second single from the second of those releases. Written by top Nashville writer Trey Bruce and Amazing Rhythm Aces member Russell Smith, the song reached No. 1 in 1993.
“Deeper Than the Holler”
“Deeper Than the Holler” has become one of Travis’ signature songs. Released in 1988, the song became his sixth consecutive No. 1 hit, and his eighth overall. Written by two of Music City’s top songwriters, Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, the song uses various down-home metaphors to describe the feeling of true love. Travis’ simple, heartfelt vocal delivery makes it one of the Top 10 Randy Travis Songs.
“Spirit of a Boy, Wisdom of a Man”
Travis scored one of his later hits with “Spirit of a Boy, Wisdom of a Man.” Backed mostly by a sparse acoustic arrangement, the song demonstrates the decisions a young boy must make in order to grow into a man of integrity and good character later on in life. Mark Collie originally recorded the tune, which was written by Trey Bruce and once and future Styx member Glen Burtnik.
“Better Class of Losers”
What’s not to like about a song written by Travis and fellow traditionalist Alan Jackson? “Better Class of Losers” tells the story of a man who marries into high society, but comes to feel constrained by the high and mighty people that he now associates with. He vows to return to his roots by “going back to a better class of losers.” Released as the third single from High Lonesome, it reached No. 2.
The second single from Travis’ first album reached No. 6 in the country charts. The song looks back on a time before he narrator lost his true love. The song’s original lyric referenced the year 1962, but Travis asked that it be changed, since he would have been just three years old at the time. This is one of several tracks in the Top 10 Randy Travis Songs from his game-changing debut album, Storms of Life.
“Three Wooden Crosses”
Travis experienced a surprise career resurgence with “Three Wooden Crosses.” He was focused on gospel at the time, but the song’s message of faith and redemption was so universal that it made its way to mainstream radio, where it became his first No. 1 single since 1994. “Three Wooden Crosses” also earned a CMA Award for Song of the Year, and a Dove Award for Country Song of the Year.
“I Told You So”
Storms of Life was Randy Travis’ groundbreaking debut, but its follow-up project, Always & Forever, was the album that undeniably cemented his position as one of country music’s leading lights. The album scored four hits singles, the last of which was the self-penned “I Told You So.” Travis first recorded the song on a long-forgotten 1983 live album, under the name Randy Ray. The new recording rocketed to No.1, and became one of his most durable songs. In 2009 the song became a hit all over again when Travis recorded it as a duet with Carrie Underwood.
“Diggin’ Up Bones”
Travis scored his second back-to-back No. 1 hit with “Diggin’ Up Bones.” The mid-tempo track has a loose country feel and unique lyrical take on the most countrified of all subject matter, heartbreak: “I’m diggin’ up bones, I’m diggin’ up bones / Exhuming things that’s better left alone / I’m resurrecting memories of a love that’s dead and gone / Yeah tonight I’m sittin’ alone, diggin’ up bones.”
“On the Other Hand”
Travis scored his first-ever No.1 hit with “On the Other Hand,” another classic from his genre-defining debut album. The song had already been recorded by Keith Whitley, and when Travis released it as the first single from his album, it crashed at No. 67. Warner Bros. re-released it after Travis’ second single, “1982,” became a hit, and this time the classic country ballad soared all the way to the top of the country charts.
“Forever and Ever, Amen”
No list of the Top 10 Randy Travis Songs could forget “Forever and Ever, Amen.” The first single from his second album, the track’s compelling mix of rhythm and melody, along with a perfectly-written lyric about undying love, took it No. 1 in 1987. Another Travis classic written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, the song also won a Grammy for Best Country & Western Song, and an ACM Award for Song of the Year.