Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Randy Travis, “Whisper My Name”

“Whisper My Name”

Randy Travis

Written by Trey Bruce


#1 (1 week)

September 3, 1994

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

August 26, 1994

Randy Travis earns his final No. 1 single from his Warner Bros. era.

The Road to No. 1

“Before You Kill Us All” reached No. 1 as the lead single from This is Me, and the second release from the album did the same.

The No. 1

“Whisper My Name” fully engages the spiritual side of Travis, which would become a bigger part of his public persona in his later years as a recording artist.

The gospel-tinged hit finds a greater purpose and meaning embedded in the simple act of the woman he love whispering his name.   True to the lyric, the song is performed in an understated way, with Travis often singing barely above a whisper, especially on the verses.

This felt like the moment when Travis fully transitioned from young New Traditionalist star to an elder statesman of the genre, despite him still being pretty young himself in 1994.  By this time, he was a veteran compared to most of the artists on the radio, and this mature and purposeful record distinguished him from the pack as such.

The Road From No. 1

This is Me produced two additional top ten hits with the title track and “The Box,” pushing the album to gold status.  Despite the success at radio, it was his first studio album to fall short of platinum sales.  His next album for Warner Bros., Full Circle, failed to produce a top twenty single or earn certification of any kind.  Travis departed the label and resurfaced on a new upstart imprint in 1998.  We’ll see him again with two chart-toppers from that run.

“Whisper My Name” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. I’m not sure Travis is recognized as much as he should be for his willingness to experiment with different sounds, especially with his single selections. Travis was always clearly and inescapably a country stylist. In that respect, Travis is like Waylon Jennings who famously said about himself, ” I Couldn’t go pop with a mouth full of firecrackers.”

    Yet, look at the ground Travis covers with the sounds of his still-always-country singles; it’s diverse and impressive. Historians often mention Tennessee Ernie Ford and Marty Robbins as being among the versatile mainstream acts in country music history. Should Travis be considered in their company?

    I just don’t tend to confuse one Travis single with another. They typically stand out on their own strengths and merits.

    The devotional and reverential undertones, and the vocal dynamics, of “Whisper My Name” are a perfect case and point. Had Randy sounded like this on any previous single?

    I don’t think so, which contributes to why he sounds so great on this one.

    It’s hard to beleive an album as strong as “Full Circle” marked the end of Travis’ run at country radio. I love so many of the songs on that album. His cover of Chris Knight’s “Highway Junkie” is a favourite as is “Are We in Trouble Now.”

  2. It is not about a woman, did you watch the video at all? He is speaking to his daughter, and at the end he has a Bible on his lap. Unless you spoke to him, or the song writer, your assessment is way off. If it is not, then the video needs to be redone to show what the song means.

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