Best Known For
American country singer Randy Travis opened the door to young artists who sought to return to the traditional sound of country music. His 1986 album, Storms of Life, landed at No. 1 on the U.S. albums chart.
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Born in North Carolina in 1959, Randy Travis is best known for opening the door to young artists who sought to return to the traditional sound of country music. He was discovered by Elizabeth Hatcher when he was 18 and fought hard to make a name for himself. He found his stride in 1986 with a No. 1 album, Storms of Life. He went on to win a Grammy Award and sell millions of copies of subsequent albums.
"It's not what you take when you leave this world behind you. It's what you leave behind you when you go."
"I think you have to sound right singing whatever it is that you sing."
Randy Traywick, best known as Randy Travis, was born on May 4, 1959, in Marshville, North Carolina. The second of six children born to Harold and Bobby Traywick, Randy was raised on a modest farm, where he was training horses and working cattle by the age of 6. As a child, he admired the music of the legendary country artists Hank Williams, Lefty Frizell, and Gene Autry; at the age of 10, he learned to play the guitar.
As a teenager, Randy's interest in country music was matched only by his increasing experimentation with drugs and alcohol. Estranged from his family, Randy dropped out of school and briefly held a job as a construction worker. Over the next few years, he was arrested several times for assault, breaking and entering, as well as other misdemeanor charges.
On the verge of being sent to prison at 18 years old, Randy met Elizabeth Hatcher, a manager of a nightclub where he performed in Charlotte, North Carolina. Seeing promise in his music, Hatcher convinced a judge to let her become Randy's legal guardian. Hatcher spent the next few years grooming Randy, who started to regularly perform at her country clubs.
In 1981, after minor recording success on an independent label, the pair moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Hatcher secured a job managing the Nashville Palace, a tourist-oriented club near the Grand Ole Opry, while Randy (who for a time performed as Randy Ray) worked as a short-order cook.
After several years of trying to make a name for himself, Randy was signed by Warner Bros. Records in 1985. Now billed as Randy Travis, his first single, "On The Other Hand," reached a disappointing No. 67 on the country music charts. Despite the lackluster debut, Warner Bros. released Travis's second track, "1982," which secured a place in the Top 10.
Optimistic over the response to "1982," the label decided to re-release "On The Other Hand," which immediately skyrocketed to No. 1 on the country charts. In 1986, both songs appeared on Travis's album Storms Of Life, which secured a place at No. 1 for eight weeks and sold over five million copies.
Awards and accolades quickly accompanied Travis's rise to fame and he was invited to become a member of the prestigious Grand Ole Opry in 1986. The following year, the LP Always And Forever earned Travis a Grammy Award, as well as the Country Music Association's Male Vocalist of the Year Award. His next three albums—Old 8 X 10 (1988), No Holdin' Back (1989) and Heroes And Friends (1990), which included duets with George Jones, Tammy Wynette, B.B. King and Roy Rogers—also sold millions of copies.
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