Schlitz, Don(ald Alan Jr.)
- Thomas Goldsmith
(b Durham, NC, Aug 29, 1952). American country singer-songwriter. After a brief stint at Duke University, Don Schlitz moved to Nashville and found work as a computer operator, working at Vanderbilt University for five years while building his skills as a songwriter. The first song Schlitz had recorded by another artist was also the biggest in what would be a major songwriting career that has earned him awards including two Grammys and three CMA Song of the Year awards. “The Gambler,” first recorded by Bobby Bare (CBS, 1978), became a ubiquitous hit in a 1978 version by Kenny Rogers on United Artists. In addition, Rogers starred in five TV movies based on the song and its equally ubiquitous hook line, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em; know when to fold ’em.” Fueled by the success of “The Gambler,” Schlitz recorded for Capitol Records and wrote or co-wrote memorable hits for such artists as Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, the Judds, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Alabama, George Strait, and Garth Brooks. With writing partner Paul Overstreet, he penned the Travis hits “Forever and Ever, Amen” and “On the Other Hand” (both Warner Bros., ...