Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Randy Travis, “I Won’t Need You Anymore (Always and Forever)”

“I Won’t Need You Anymore (Always and Forever)”

Randy Travis

Written by Max D. Barnes and Troy Seals

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

October 23, 1987


#1 (1 week)

November 21, 1987

When John Michael Montgomery released “Rope the Moon” as the follow up to “I Swear,” it did well on the charts.  But it was quickly forgotten, largely because it had the same theme as the career record that Montgomery was coming off of with “I Swear.”

In preparing this feature, I was surprised to find out that “I Won’t Need You Anymore (Always and Forever)” was a No. 1 single, and even more surprised that it was the follow up to “Forever and Ever, Amen.” The next two No. 1 singles from Always & Forever have lingered in a way that this hit has not, and it’s not because of any shortcoming of the record itself. It’s a lovely traditional ballad about loving someone always and forever, even if hell freezes over.

On its own, it’s pretty darn good. But in the shadow of “Forever and Ever, Amen,” it languishes. It would be like Martina McBride following “Independence Day” with another domestic abuse song or Garth Brooks singing about another dive bar after “Friends in Low Places.” When you’ve just released the Platonic ideal of wedding songs, it’s inevitable that a lesser effort in comparison doesn’t stick around as long.  If, say, Ricky Van Shelton had released this instead, it might have gotten its proper day in the sun.

“I Won’t Need You Anymore (Always and Forever)” gets a B+,

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. I always thought this one offered modest rewards as a follow-up to “Forever and Ever, Amen”. Randy was in fine form vocally and was backed up with quality musicianship that put the material on its feet, but I’ve just never been receptive to laundry lists of over-the-top superlatives masquerading as lyrics. Be it “how do I breathe without you?” or the song that most closely resembles this one lyrically–Lorrie Morgan’s “You’ve Seen a Picture of Me Without You,” the sentiment seems contrived, not to mention an early iteration of the “checklist” song that always elicits grumbles of lazy songwriting. I can still listen to a song like this and get some satisfaction because of the sonic delivery, but it’s mostly not my cup of tea and there are at least a dozen Randy Travis hits that I like more.

    Grade: B-

  2. THis review is spot-on. Its unfortunate how a good follow up to a great song is underrted or totally forgotten. Does anyone even really remember (without looking it up) the follow up to “Need You now” or “THe Chain of Love” for example…

  3. …there are only a few things in country music that arguing about is totally pointless – one of it is randy travis’ vocals. this is executed so well and beautiful, still awesome. and “i told you so” is only yet to come. what a sophomore album that was after the great *storms of life”, that they came from. i still remember well, that i was binge listening to randy travis at times between 1987 and 1990 and never got tired of it.

  4. I’ve always rated the “Storms of Life” as a 5 star classic album and love going back to it every year. I always thought “Always and Forever” was just a step below at 4.5 even though just like “Storms Of Life” I enjoyed every song very much and also love listening to it. I feel production wise “Always & Forever” had a “sheen’ to it that “Storms of Life” didn’t. Travis was always a smooth baritone and the album was very much country. Listening to it reminds me of a winter’s day. I feel like maybe it would’ve rated higher to me if I didn’t compare it to “Storms of Life”. I rate “My House”, “Good Intentions” and “Tonight We’re Tearing Down the Walls” as highly as the classic singles. I went through a huge Randy Travis phase in college and never got out of it really :)

  5. Doesn’t the decision to chase “Foerever and Ever, Amen” with this hit suggest Nashville wasn’t yet sold on just how far, or for how long, country music could extend into popular culture? It was the safest of calls, classic Music City copy-cat-itis, even with its new flagship artist for a new generation of country fan.

    Regardless of the reasons for sequencing the two releases, the instrumentation here is as good as Travis’ vocals, which is to say they sound amazing together.

    I love this song.

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