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Don Schlitz
Schlitz performing at the Country Music Hall of Fame, 2024
Schlitz performing at the Country Music Hall of Fame, 2024
Background information
Birth nameDonald Alan Schlitz Jr. [1]
Born (1952-08-29) August 29, 1952 (age 71)
Origin Durham, North Carolina, U.S.
Genres Country
Instrument(s)Harmonica, guitar, bass, vocals
Years active1978–present

Donald Allen Schlitz Jr. (born August 29, 1952) is an American songwriter who has written more than a score of number one hits on the country music charts. He is best known for his song " The Gambler" ( Kenny Rogers), and as the co-writer of " Forever and Ever, Amen" ( Randy Travis), and " When You Say Nothing at All" ( Keith Whitley and Alison Krauss & Union Station). For his songwriting efforts, Schlitz has earned two Grammy Awards, and four ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year awards.

Schlitz has been inducted in to four different halls of fame: the national Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, [2] and the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. On August 30, 2022, he was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. [3] [4]

Songwriting career

Schlitz' first hit as a songwriter was Kenny Rogers's " The Gambler", which became a crossover country hit upon its release in 1978, later becoming one of Rogers's signature songs. [5] In 2018, the song was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". [6] Since then, Schlitz has written numerous country songs and penned several hits for other country artists. Among his biggest hits are two Number One songs which he co-wrote with Paul Overstreet, " Forever and Ever, Amen" by Randy Travis and " When You Say Nothing at All" by Keith Whitley. He has 24 number 1 hits on the Country Charts. [7]

United States President George H. W. Bush also commissioned Schlitz to write a theme song for his " Points of Light" program. [5] This song, "Point of Light", was a No. 3 country hit for Randy Travis in 1991.

Schlitz also worked with Kenny Rogers again in 1998. Rogers joked at the time that "every 20 years I will record a Don Schlitz song". The result was a baseball-themed hit single called " The Greatest". Rogers also recorded several more of his songs in 2013 for his best-selling You Can't Make Old Friends album.


He composed the music for the musical The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.


In addition to writing hit singles for other artists, Schlitz has recorded three albums of his own. The first, titled Dreamers' Matinee, was released in 1980 on Capitol Records. A live compilation, titled Live at the Bluebird Café, was released in 2001. In 2010, Schlitz released another studio album of new material, Allergic to Crazy.


Year Title US Country
1978 " The Gambler" 65
1979 "You're the One Who Rewrote My Life Story" 91

Singles co-written by Don Schlitz

Singles written or co-written by Don Schlitz include the following. Asterisks denote songs which reached Number One on the U.S. Billboard country charts.



  1. ^ Full name per Broadcast Music Incorporated database
  2. ^ Watts, Cindy (April 5, 2017). "Alan Jackson, Jerry Reed, Don Schlitz tapped for Country Music Hall of Fame, and the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame". The Tennessean. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  3. ^ @opry (June 11, 2022). "BREAKING: @VGcom has also just invited Don Schlitz to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry!" ( Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ @opry (August 12, 2022). "You're invited! Join us for @don_schlitz's Grand Ole Opry member induction on Tuesday, August 30th!" ( Tweet) – via Twitter.
  5. ^ a b Brennan, Sandra. "Don Schlitz | Biography". Allmusic. Archived from the original on November 4, 2020. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  6. ^ "National Recording Registry Reaches 500". Library of Congress. March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  7. ^ "Don Schlitz". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on January 19, 2021. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  8. ^ "2010 Inductees". North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on October 28, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2012.{{ cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown ( link)