Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Randy Travis, “If I Didn’t Have You”

“If I Didn’t Have You”

Randy Travis

Written by Max D. Barnes and Skip Ewing

Billboard

#1 (1 week)

October 17, 1992

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

October 2 – October 9, 1992

Randy Travis returns to the top with the lead single from his pair of hits collections.

The Road to No. 1

After “I’d Surrender All” peaked outside the top ten, Warner Bros. moved on from High Lonesome and readied a pair of releases influenced by a recent trend in rock music: releasing two albums at once.  Why they didn’t just do a two-disc hits collection is beyond me, but Travis would score one No. 1 hit each from Greatest Hits Volume One and Greatest Hits Volume Two.   This one’s from Volume One.

The No. 1

Driven by a thumping percussion, “If I Didn’t Have You” also features some stunning guitar work to accompany a fantastic vocal performance from Travis.

I can’t tease out what’s the most winning element of those three. I love the beat, I love the pickin’, and I don’t think Travis has ever sounded better than he does here, fully showcasing his impressive range while maintaining full twang with every note.

It’s a great record that would still sound fresh today if it was sent to radio.

The Road From No. 1

And the next single is great, too.  Sorry to be repeating superlatives, but it’s the early nineties and Gods and Goddesses walked among us.

“If I Didn’t Have You” gets an A. 

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Collin Raye, “In This Life” |

Next: Reba McEntire, “The Greatest Man I Never Knew”

 

6 Comments

  1. I have loved this song from the very first listen. I’d argue it’s a understated Randy Travis single despite being a #1.

  2. I absolutely love this song! It’s definitely one of my all time favorites from Randy, and it never fails to make me happy and think of simpler times. Like Kevin and Leeann, I simply love everything about it, from the beat, the melody, the stripped down arrangement, and Randy’s impressive range and vocal skills in his performance. Just the very last line alone shows how effortlessly he could slide from the high notes all the way down to his signature bass range. You can definitely tell he had fun singing this one! I also love the acoustic guitar playing throughout, and this song is another that has one of the coolest dobro solos I’ve ever heard. Just one of the best feel good songs that the early 90’s neo-traditional period had to offer!

    This is also another song that definitely brings back memories from late Summer and early Fall of 1992, after we had just moved into our current house. However, we did still visit Fredericksburg, VA and my dad’s house pretty frequently, and this song, for whatever reason, also reminds me of the Cracker Barrel around Southpoint in that area (just like another Travis song, “Heroes And Friends,” does). When the song gets to that cool dobro solo, for some reason, I always picture the view from the window section of the restaurant where you could see all kind of trucks going up and down I-95 on a Fall/Winter day (when there are no leaves on the trees blocking the view of the roads and vehicles).

    This one also pretty much remained a steady recurrent for us throughout the rest of the decade and into the early 00’s, and I enjoyed it every time it came on. I even managed to get it on a tape I recorded off the radio in early 1996.

    These first two singles off of Randy’s Greatest Hits albums are actually two of my favorite songs of his of all time. As much as I love this one, though, I actually love the next one coming up even more. :)

  3. Travis towered over his peers. So consistently brilliant and strong.

    This song showcases all his strengths as a vocalist and is another reminder of how many great songs Skip Ewing wrote.

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