On The Other Hand

Album: Storms Of Life (1985)
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Songfacts®:

  • This song depicts a man who is tempted by another woman. He makes a mental list of pros and cons: On the one hand, he could have a little fun and probably get away with it. But on the other hand is his wedding band, and that's reason enough to stay true.

    The song was written by the Nashville writers Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, who were trying to write a different song - one called "Greedy Heart" - when they got the idea for this one. "It was the idea that when you have one woman, you shouldn't be looking for another one," Overstreet recalled to Country Weekly. "I personally was tired of that whole scenario of going from one relationship to another, and not having the strength to really say no in tempting situations. I was hoping we could write a song that would say we had the strength to say no."

    "So right in the middle of that song, we kind of bantered some lines back and forth and Don said 'but on the other hand,' and I said, 'there's a golden band,'" he continued. "From that point, we looked at each other and kind of got that glitter in our eyes, and finished it real quick. Then we went to lunch."
  • This is one of the first songs Randy Travis recorded after moving to Nashville in the early '80s. Born and raised in North Carolina, he released two singles on a small label in 1978 under his real name, Randy Traywick. They didn't rate, so he moved to Nashville with his girlfriend (and later, wife) Lib Hatcher, who took a job managing a touristy spot called The Nashville Palace. She hired Randy to work as a cook, dishwasher, and singer. He recorded a live album there, and got a big break when Warner Bros. rep saw him perform and signed him.

    The label re-named him Randy Travis, had him record "On The Other Hand," and released it in 1985 as his first single. It got a lukewarm reception, peaking at #67 on the Country chart but spending about 12 weeks on the tally. His next single, "1982," did a lot better, so Warner Bros. re-released "On The Other Hand," and this time it went to #1 on the Country chart, the first of 16 chart-toppers for Travis.
  • The song was originally recorded by Keith Whitley on his 1985 album L.A. to Miami, which also contains Whitley's version of "Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her." In a strange twist, Travis' version of "On The Other Hand" was displaced at #1 on the Country chart on August 2, 1986 by George Strait's rendition of "Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her."
  • Travis' next single, "Diggin' Up Bones," was also co-written by Paul Overstreet and went to #1 on the Country chart. Overstreet want on to deliver a series of hits for Travis, many with a theme of commitment. Among them: "No Place Like Home" and "Forever And Ever, Amen."
  • This song earned a cascade of awards, including the CMA for Song Of The Year and the award for Song And Single Of The Year from the Academy Of Country Music. The Storms Of Life album went on to sell over 3 million copies.

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