'Forever And Ever, Amen': The Randy Travis Tune Was Inspired By A Songwriters' Child

Country music is full of some of the most dedicated love songs, and when thinking of these, it's hard to ignore one of the sweetest country songs, "Forever And Ever, Amen," by Randy Travis. Released in March 1987 as the lead single from his Always & Forever album, "Forever And Ever, Amen" finds the country singer assuring his love interest that he'll be in love with her for the rest of their lives.

"Oh, baby, I'm gonna love you forever / Forever and ever amen / As long as old men sit and talk about the weather / As long as old women sit and talk about old men / If you wonder how long I'll be faithful / I'll be happy to tell you again / I'm gonna love you forever and ever / Forever and ever, amen," he sings in the chorus.

These heartwarming lyrics are paired with country instrumentation, featuring steel guitar and dobro, and Travis' classic voice. What makes "Forever And Ever, Amen" unique is the "amen" at the end of the hook line, which makes it sound like Travis is singing a prayer. And it turns out that line was inspired by something said right after a prayer.

"Forever And Ever, Amen" was written by Nashville songwriters Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, and the idea for the song came from Schlitz's young son. According to Schlitz, after his son said his prayers at night, he would often turn to his mother and say, "Mommy, I love you forever and ever, amen." Once Schlitz brought the idea to Overstreet, it took the songwriters a couple of hours to finish the tune. They then took it to Martha Sharp at Warner Bros., who suggested it for Travis, and Travis loved the tune immediately. Overstreet and Schlitz previously wrote Travis' song, "On The Other Hand," from his debut album Storms of Life. 

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Not only has the song became an unforgettable one in country music, it also received its share of awards and accolades. It spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart — the first song to do so in seven years. The song also swept up at award shows, taking home the Grammy Award for Best Country & Western song, as well as the Academy of Country Music award and Country Music Association award for Song of the Year. "Forever And Ever, Amen" is joined by Travis' other hit songs, including "Diggin' Up Bones," "I Told You So," "Three Wooden Crosses," and many more.

Unfortunately, Randy Travis' singing ability has been limited since his massive stroke in 2013, which caused difficulty speaking and singing. Travis did recover some of his voice, however, and has appeared at various events in the past years, including singing "Amazing Grace" at the Grand Ole Opry and attending his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016. Travis was featured on a version of "Forever And Ever, Amen" recorded by Josh Turner for his 2020 album, Country State of Mind. In the song, Travis sings the final "Amen," which was a special moment for Turner in the studio.

In a video describing the making of Turner's rendition, he credits Travis for being "the reason" he moved to Nashville to become a country singer. He also reveals that the day they recorded the song was the first time Travis had been back in the recording studio since his stroke. Travis had sung the final "amen" with other artists during live performances before, but Turner wanted to make sure there was a recorded version of it.

"A picture is worth a thousand words; this one word is worth a thousand words, so I'm honored to have my hero and my friend on here and I'm just thankful for the influence that he's had on me," said Turner.

"Forever and Ever, Amen" was also released as a duet by Irish singer and songwriter Ronan Keating and Shania Twain from Keating's Twenty Twenty album.




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