36 Years Ago: Randy Travis Releases Major-Label Debut Album, ‘Storms of Life’
Thirty-six years ago today, on June 2, 1986, Randy Travis dropped his major-label debut album. Storms of Life was released on Warner Bros. Records.
Storms of Life includes a re-release of Travis' first chart-topping single, "On the Other Hand," as well as "Diggin' Up Bones" and "No Place Like Home," two additional No. 1 hits for Travis. When the label first released "On the Other Hand," it failed to chart, but after releasing "1982," which became a Top 5 hit, the label tried again, and "On the Other Hand" became Travis' very first No. 1 hit.
Travis had already independently released a self-titled album and Live at the Nashville Palace by the time he secured his deal with Warner Bros. The North Carolina native signed his record contract on Feb. 14, 1985, thanks to the persistence of his manager (and then-girlfriend) Elizabeth "Lib" Hatcher, after previously being rejected by every label in town. Although Warner Bros. signed Travis to their roster, they requested that he keep his relationship with Hatcher a secret.
The year 1986 was a big year for Travis: On March 7, he made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry; by the end of the year, he would become an official member. Travis won the CMA Awards Horizon Award in 1986, as well as Top New Male Vocalist at the ACM Awards.
Storms of Life became the first of five consecutive albums from Travis to land at the top of the charts. To date, the record has sold more than 3 million copies, becoming the second most-successful project of his career; only Travis' sophomore album, Always & Forever, has sold more copies (over 5 million units).
On Sept. 24, 2021, Travis released a remastered version of the album, Storms of Life (35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition), which included three previously unreleased songs.
This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski.
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