Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Randy Travis, “Forever Together”

“Forever Together”

Randy Travis

Written by Alan Jackson and Randy Travis

Billboard

#1 (1 week)

November 30, 1991

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

November 15, 1991

You’re stuck with me forever and ever, amen.

The Road to No. 1

As Randy Travis was preparing for his seventh album with Warner Bros., he was on tour with a young opening act who shared his passion for traditional country music.  Before long, Alan Jackson was a songwriting partner. The album High Lonesome featured three songs that they wrote together, and they would be the only proper singles from the collection, which also included the stopgap single “Point of Light.”

The No. 1

Singing a song about being together forever is bound to invite comparisons to “Forever and Ever, Amen,” but the protagonist here didn’t leave behind his bad habits on the way to the altar.

I took you for granted
So many years
I gave you no hope
Broken promises and tears

But when I was down
It was you who was there
To pick up the pieces and show me you care

But don’t worry, he’s going to stick around:

Forever together
Til’ death do we part
Forsaking all others
I’ll give you my heart

Through good times and bad times
Wherever we are
Forever together
In each other’s arms

It’s a bit like “Stand By Your Man” from the perspective of the man that Tammy was stuck with. She’ll have bad times, he’ll have good times, indeed.

The most charitable reading of the lyric interprets it as a recommitment, a determination to finally live by the vows that were promised some time ago.

Here’s hoping, for her sake.

The Road From No. 1

The next No. 1 single from High Lonesome arrives in 1992, and the louse isn’t Randy on that go around.

“Forever Together” gets a B.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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8 Comments

  1. Always really loved this one! Sonically, it’s such a gorgeous traditional country ballad featuring another great performance with Randy occasionally dipping into his lower register. And as usual, I love Kyle Lehning’s more simple production, featuring a generous helping steel guitar. I’ll admit though, your review definitely made me take a closer to it lyrically than I ever did before. I’ve personally always took it that not only does the narrator promise to be forever together with her, but he also intends to try his best to make up for all the wrong doings he did from that point on and give back the same kind of love and commitment she’s given to him. At least that’s how I’ve always heard/looked at it.

    The High Lonesome album is also another one of my personal favorites from Randy, and it’s another one I got in the early 00’s when I was exploring/revisiting a lot of early 90’s country. While newer artists at the time like Garth, Travis Tritt, Brooks & Dunn, etc. were bringing in more rock influences and a higher level of energy in the production on their records, I love how Randy pretty much stuck with the same sound that made him successful in the 80’s. Also, the fact that this was the following number one to the rocking “Shameless” (and the similarly subdued “Brotherly Love” was number one before it) says a lot about the variety of styles that was still featured on country radio at the time.

    I also must say when he and Alan teamed up, they made quite the songwriting team, and it resulted in some of my all time favorite songs from each artist.

  2. It is possible to read too much into a lyric.

    That said, this is a good song that sounds good (something a lot of modern day producers seem to think is of little importance). The lack of outside pollutants is a definite plus.
    B+

  3. I’m finally caught up on this feature, so I have a couple general thoughts.

    1. I love this feature! As someone who really got into country music in the early 90s as I entered my teen years, this era of music is right up my alley and this feature is bringing back some great memories and reminding me of some old favourites (both songs and artists) that I’m enjoying revisiting.

    2. Jamie – I’m fascinated by your tapes and the stories behind them! I spent a fair amount of time in my day making tapes (mostly mixed tapes of my favourite songs from my CD collection, but I did have a few tapes of songs from the radio/TV), but I didn’t have anywhere near the number as you seem to have (and I don’t have them anymore).

    Regarding this song, Randy Travis is one of my favourite artists from this era (and of all time). While this song is not top tier Randy Travis, it is still a really good song.

    I remember going through some of my Randy Travis CDs and noting that this song (and I think a few others as well) were written by Randy Travis and Alan Jackson. I always thought it was pretty cool that two superstars would collaborate together (especially considering that Alan Jackson tended to write alone for the most part, if I remember correctly).

  4. Travis was as steady and steadfastly country as they come. As Jamie and Paul have already mentioned, his songs just sounded good. Travis managed to keep to his roots as other influences outside of traditional country were showing in so many of the other new artists on the scene.

    It was so comforting to be able to bank on these kinds of hits from Travis time and time again. He really anchored the charts in many ways.

  5. Paul – I agree with you all the way on modern producers. I’ve always been a sound/melody person first of all, and another one of the biggest reasons I can’t get into most modern mainstream country is I just don’t like how it sounds compared to older country. That said, much of modern country is also severely lacking in the lyrics department, as well.

    Frank The Tank – Thanks for the kind words. It really flatters me and I really appreciate that you and others here enjoy my tape comments! :) It’s cool to see it inspiring other regular commenters to remember their tape recording days and dust off their own old tapes, as well. :)

  6. Jamie – I think I have a few tapes left in storage somewhere, but I no longer have a cassette player! I might have to dig them out and recreate them as Spotify playlists.

  7. …hopeless wishful thinking probably rarely sounded more sincere. i can see why this not all that great song touched quite a people: love, life and death always do the trick when it comes to triggering.

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