Happy Anniversary: Randy Travis, No Holdin’ Back
25 years ago today, Randy Travis released an album which would take him to the top of the Billboard Country Albums chart for the fourth consecutive time, which is a pretty decent track record for someone who’d only released four albums.
Well, actually, that’s not entirely true: in 1978, he released a self-titled album while he was still recording under his real name, Randy Traywick, and it most certainly did not turn out to be a chart-topper. (It didn’t chart at all, in fact.) Still, if you only count the full-length studio efforts hat Randy Travis had released up to that point, then the man was four for four with #1 albums…and, brother, that ain’t bad.
No Holdin’ Back was, like most of Travis’s albums, helmed by Kyle Lehning, with the only exception being a cover of Brook Benton’s “It’s Just a Matter of Time,” which was produced by Richard Perry, a gentleman whose track record is enough to make him an exception to just about any artist’s rules of who produces them and who doesn’t. It paid off, too: the track proved to be a #1 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart. As it happens, that was actually the third time the song had been a chart-topper: Benton took his own version to #1 on the R&B charts in 1959, and Sonny James had a #1 country hit with his take on the track in 1970.
Travis picked up another #1 hit as well, courtesy of “Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart,” written by Hugh Prestwood, along with a #2 single, “He Walked on Water,” by Allen Shamblin. In addition, there’s an impressive cover of the country classic “Singing the Blues,” immortalized by Marty Robbins, as well as a song called “Somewhere in My Broken Heart,” which its co-writer, Billy Dean, later recorded and released as the second single from his 1991 album, Young Man, taking it to #3 on the country charts.
Travis still had one more consecutive #1 album yet to come – 1990’s Heroes and Friends – but after that, his chart successes began to decline somewhat, and he’s not topped the country charts again since. With that said, however, every single studio album he’s released since 1986’s Storms of Life has at least made it into the top 40, which, when you consider the competition, is nothing to sneeze at.