Don Schlitz

Don Schlitz
Birth nameDonald Alan Schlitz Jr.[1]
Born (1952-08-29) August 29, 1952 (age 69)
OriginDurham, North Carolina, U.S.
Years active1978–present
Associated actsKenny Rogers Randy Travis Keith Whitley

Donald Alan Schlitz Jr. (born August 29, 1952) is an American country music songwriter. For his songwriting efforts, Schlitz has earned two Grammy Awards, as well as four ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year awards.

In 1993, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Later in 2012, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Furthermore, in 2017, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4]

United States President George H. W. Bush also commissioned Schlitz to write a theme song for his "Points of Light" program.[3] 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 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". The Tennessean. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Brennan, Sandra. "Don Schlitz | Biography". Allmusic. Archived from the original on December 4, 2020. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  4. ^ "Don Schlitz". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on January 19, 2021. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  5. ^ "2010 Inductees". North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on January 25, 2021. Retrieved September 10, 2012.