‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Griffith Had ‘No Idea’ That He Would Go Platinum with His Music

by Clayton Edwards

Many people know Andy Griffith from his acting career. After all, he was the star of one of the most popular television shows to ever air. Years after his hit sitcom ended, he starred in Matlock. That allowed him to put another hit show under his belt. Griffith has also appeared in several theatrical and made-for-TV movies. However, his talents go much deeper than that. He was also a great comedian. On top of that, Andy had musical talent to spare.

Andy Griffith recorded several albums over the years. His most successful by far was his 1996 album I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns. That album went platinum. It also won Andy the Grammy for Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album at the 1997 Grammy Awards. In 2007, Andy was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame.

In 1996, Andy Griffith appeared on Ralph Emery On the Record to talk about his career. During the interview, country legend Randy Travis joined the conversation via satellite. The conversation naturally turned away from television to music at that point.

Andy Griffith on His Platinum-Selling Album

Andy Griffith, Randy Travis, and Ralph Emery talked about Randy’s two appearances on Matlock. When Emery mentioned that Griffith had a hit album, Randy Travis seemed genuinely excited for the veteran actor. They talked about singing together for the show as well as between scenes while just killing time. Before letting Emery and Griffith get back to the interview, Travis talked about how much he admired Andy’s musical knowledge and ability. Then, told him if he was ever looking for original material for an album to let him know.

After their brief chat with Randy Travis ended, Ralph circled back around to Andy Griffith’s hit album. He asked, “Are you somewhat amazed that you have gone platinum, or over a million copies, with this album of hymns?”

The look on Andy Griffith’s face says more than words ever could. It is as if he is trying to wrap his head around moving that many copies of his album. “Yeah,” Andy said, “I had no idea. I just wanted to do it.” Andy went on to say that Billy Ray Hearn, the founder of Capitol Christian Music Group, gave him the opportunity to record the album.

About the song selection, Andy Griffith said that he chose hymns that he had known his whole life. So, he was stepping into the studio with an album full of material with which he was incredibly familiar. On top of that, they were songs that moved him both emotionally and spiritually. Those things, combined with Andy’s proficient musicianship and vocal ability helped to move over a million copies of the album.