Happy Anniversary: Randy Travis, Always & Forever
28 years ago today, Randy Travis released his second album, and although we realize we make regular reference to how certain albums managed to handily avoid the sophomore slump, you really can’t argue with that claim when it comes to one that spawned four #1 country singles.
Record in 1986 in Nashville, Always & Forever found Travis building on the success of his 1986 debut, Storms of Life, in a big way, and that’s saying something when you consider that his debut album hit #1 on the country chart and has gone triple platinum. It’s true, though: Always & Forever proved to be another chart-topper, it’s gone platinum five times over at this point, and it was enough of a crossover success that it actually cracked the top 20 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, too.
If you’re wondering what those four #1 country singles were, we’ll satisfy your curiosity or help your memory, whichever the case might be: “Too Gone Too Long,” “I Won’t Need You Anymore (Always and Forever),” “Forever and Ever, Amen,” and “I Told You So” were the songs in question. Always & Forever also features another classic Travis track, too: “What’ll You Do About Me,” which has since been covered by a number of other singers, including Steve Earle, the Forester Sisters, Doug Supernaw, and Carrie Underwood, who recorded the song as a duet with Travis in 2007.
Sadly, as you may know, Travis suffered a stroke in 2013 and has been unable to sing or speak since then, but he nonetheless appeared at the 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards, showing his support for Lee Brice’s cover of “Forever and Ever, Amen.” After his appearance, he penned a letter to his fans which you can read in its entirety if you click right here, but here’s the part that got our tear ducts going:
“The power of music remains a source of inspiration and healing for me. Writing songs was always a passion of mine, and I still have a lot to share with you. It is my prayer that, with continued healing, one day soon, I will be back on that stage exchanging music with my fans … my friends, who with God’s amazing grace, have brought me this far. As I work through music/speech/occupational/physical therapy, it is my hope that my songs of yesterday continue to touch your life in some way.”
Needless to say, he signed it, “Forever and Ever, Amen.”