3 Timeless Randy Travis Songs Every Country Music Fan Should Know by Heart

Those who are fans of ‘90s country owe a debt of gratitude to Randy Travis. The living legend was one of a handful of artists who pushed back against the heavily pop-influenced sound of country music in the mid-80s. His staunch adherence to the traditional sounds of country music made him a precursor to the “Class of ‘89” which included greats like Alan Jackson and George Strait. They arguably continued his work in carrying the neo-traditional country sound into the ‘90s.

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Travis was a singer whose baritone was silky smooth and instantly recognizable. He was also a great songwriter. And, when it came to picking outside songs, he knew a hit when he heard it—14 of his 16 No. 1 singles were outside cuts. Unfortunately, a near-fatal stroke robbed him of his ability to sing in 2013. However, his star burned so bright that he continues to be a lauded figure and torchbearer in the country music world.

[RELATED: 3 Songs You Didn’t Know Randy Travis Wrote for Other Artists]

With that being said, we’re going to throw it back to Travis’ heyday and look at three timeless tracks that every country fan should know by heart.

“On the Other Hand” Randy Travis’ First No.1 Single

Travis’ career got off to a rocky start. First, he performed under his real name, Randy Traywick. He released two singles under that name but saw no real success. Then, in 1985, he released “On the Other Hand” as his debut single under the Randy Travis moniker. It peaked at No. 67 on the Billboard Country singles chart. A year later, he re-released it as the lead single from his debut album Storms of Life and it topped the chart.

[RELATED: Top 8 Randy Travis Songs]

Penned by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, “On the Other Hand” is a classic cheating song. It’s clever, moving, and a timeless example of Travis’ enduring greatness.

“Diggin’ Up Bones” Lightning Strikes Twice

Travis went from working in restaurants and trying his hardest to get someone to listen to him to having two back-to-back No. 1 singles in the span of about eight years. “Diggin’ Up Bones” was the second single from his debut album and second chart-topper.

Penned by Overstreet, Al Gore, and Nat Stuckey, “Diggin’ Up Bones” sees the narrator going through possession and memories left over from a broken relationship. A heartbreak song of the highest order, this song lived on the radio well into the mid-90s. If released to country radio today, it would likely still dominate the airwaves.

“Deeper Than the Holler” Randy Travis Recorded the Greatest Country Love Song

During his career, Travis released some great love songs. “Forever and Ever Amen” and “Deeper Than the Holler” are paramount among them. However, when it comes to country love songs, it doesn’t get much better than the latter.

Penned by Overstreet and Schlitz, Travis released “Deeper Than the Holler” as the second single from his 1988 sophomore album Old 8×10. It was his eighth No. 1 overall, his sixth consecutive chart-topper, and his third No. 1 in 1988.

The greatness—and timelessness—of this song lies in the concept at its heart. A hayseed falls in love and tries to find things that are familiar to him to compare the magnitude of his love to. Once again, it’s clever songwriting from a group of writers led by Overstreet made timeless by Travis’ vocal delivery and the arrangements set down by his longtime producer Kyle Lehning.

Featured Image by Rebecca Sapp/WireImage

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