On This Day: Randy Travis Drops ‘Always & Forever’ Album in 1987

by Clayton Edwards

Some artists take time to really find themselves. It’s normal for an artist to release an album or two before they find what works and what listeners want to hear. However, Randy Travis hit the country music scene in 1986 with Storms of Life and immediately carved out a place for himself in the genre. That album was an instant classic. Songs like “On the Other Hand,” and “Diggin’ Up Bones,” are as good today as they were all those years ago. Then, the next year, Travis dropped Always & Forever, proving that he didn’t just get lucky on his first go-round.

Those first two albums along with the ones that followed it established Randy Travis as a force in the neotraditional country movement. He and a handful of other artists worked to keep the spirit of traditional country alive as pop-country snatched increasingly larger portions of airplay and market share in the country music market.

By the mid-nineties, many listeners were moving away from the neotraditional sound. So, Randy Travis’ album sales started to dwindle. At that point, he began to focus on more faith-based material. However, those who keep a special place in their heart for the good old days and silky-smooth baritone vocals still gravitate to Travis’ discography today.

The Impact of Randy Travis’ Sophomore Album

Always & Forever was a career milestone for Randy Travis. Less than a year after its release, the album went double platinum. This was the first of many multi-platinum-selling albums for Travis. The sales of the album were spurred by the four hit singles it produced.

Randy Travis released four singles from Always & Forever and all of them hit the top of the chart. Those tracks are still in heavy rotation in fans’ playlists today.  “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “I Won’t Need You Anymore (Always and Forever),” “Too Gone Too Long,” and, “I Told You So,” are all bona fide classics.

Platinum sales and chart-topping singles were only the beginning for Always & Forever. Randy Travis took home the CMA for Album of the Year in 1987. He also won Male Vocalist of the Year. “Forever and Ever, Amen,” brought him Single of the Year. The song also won ACM Awards for both Single and Song of the Year. To top It all off, the album earned Travis his first Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male.

Randy Travis retired in 2013 after a stroke took his ability to sing. However, he remains one of the best vocalists country music has ever seen. He will continue to be near the top of that list always and forever.