10 Things You Didn’t Know About Randy Travis


10- He changed his name to honor his favorite artist

Randy Travis’ real name is Randy Traywick. He used his real name for a while, even recording an album under it, before adopting the stage name “Randy Ray.” Eventually he changed his stage name to Randy Travis in honor of Merle Travis, one of his musical heroes. Merle Travis passed away in 1983, two years before Randy achieved success with the new moniker. He did get to meet and work with quite a few legendary country singers, though, including future duet partner George Jones.


9- He never finished school past 9th grade

Perpetually fighting with his father, Travis dropped out of school in the 9th grade and never looked back. He left behind the duo he had formed with his brother and instead turned to a life of mischief. While he never finished his book learnin’, he obviously learned a lot of things that helped him develop into a world class songwriter.

8- He spent most of his youth in trouble with the law

Randy Travis spent most of his teenage years in Marshville, North Carolina getting arrested for breaking and entering, drinking, drugs, auto theft and a litany of other crimes. His older brother even landed in jail after a high-speed car chase. He finally straightened up when the judge, who was a family friend, told him he couldn’t save him anymore and he was facing years in prison. Elizabeth Hatcher, a club owner who saw promise in Travis’ budding singing career, took him under her guardianship to save him from prison.


7- He was a cook at his first regular music venue

When Travis moved to Nashville, Hatcher also began managing a club called The Nashville Palace, which is across from the Grand Ole Opry House. She gave Travis a job cooking and washing dishes as well as regularly performing on the stage. It was crucial for his development and following in town.

6- His first marriage was to his manager

Though Travis’ relationship with Hatcher started in a guardianship, it eventually evolved into a romance. Hatcher divorced her husband and she and Travis began seeing each other. They didn’t marry until 1991, however, and were often required to keep their relationship quiet at the behest of the industry. They divorced in 2010.

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