“Walk On Faith”
Written by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin
#1 (2 weeks)
February 23 – March 2, 1991
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
February 8, 1991
An NFL player turned songwriter scores his only No. 1 hit.
The Road to No. 1
Mike Reid played college football for Penn State University and then for the National Football League, spending several years playing for the Cincinnati Bengals. But he was even more successful in his second career, retiring from football in 1975 to pursue songwriting full time. Reid had an especially productive relationship with Ronnie Milsap, writing several No. 1 hits for him, as well as picking up a Grammy for penning Milsap’s crossover hit, “Stranger in My House.” Reid even provided vocals to the 1988 Milsap hit “Old Folks,” which reached No. 2. Reid also wrote eighties and early nineties hits for The Judds, Willie Nelson, Lorrie Morgan, Sylvia, Don Williams and Conway Twitty.
Based on his success as a writer, Mike Reid scored a recording contract with Columbia. In late 1990, he released his debut single for the label, “Walk on Faith.”
The No. 1
For all of his incredible success as a songwriter, Mike Reid was effectively a one hit wonder at country radio.
But that one hit is a hell of a wonder.
“Walk On Faith” is a joyous, uplifting and inspirational record, with a positive message that floats atop Reid’s beautiful piano work. Reid’s vocal is effective at conveying the depth of the lyric without weighing the record down with needless sentimentality.
It’s the type of record that seemed destined to launch a massive career until it didn’t, but it’s still a priceless gem from the golden era of the early nineties.
The Road From No. 1
Mike Reid’s solo career fizzled quickly, with the next two singles from his debut album, Turning From Home, missing the top ten. A second solo album followed in 1992, but it failed to produce a top forty country hit.
But Reid was hardly absent from the country charts, as his songwriting career continued to produce major hits. He penned No. 1 singles for Collin Raye (“In This Life”), Wynonna (“My Strongest Weakness,” “To Be Loved By You”), and Tim McGraw (“Everywhere”), as well as top ten hits for Tanya Tucker and Lee Roy Parnell. His greatest triumph, however, happened outside of the country charts. His composition “I Can’t Make You Love Me” became a pop standard. It was a pop and AC hit for Bonnie Raitt, and has since been covered by countless artists. Future country superstar Carrie Underwood used the song for her initial American Idol audition.
Reid was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005, and has spent most of this century penning musical scores that have supported theatrical performances in New York, Nashville, and other major cities.
“Walk On Faith” gets an A.