He Walked on Water

"He Walked on Water" is a song written by Allen Shamblin, and recorded by American country music singer Randy Travis. It was released in April 1990 as the third single from the album No Holdin' Back. The song peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) chart, and number 1 on Canada's RPM country chart.

"He Walked On Water"
Single by Randy Travis
from the album No Holdin' Back
B-side"Card Carrying Fool"
ReleasedApril 26, 1990
LabelWarner Bros. Nashville 19878
Songwriter(s)Allen Shamblin
Producer(s)Kyle Lehning
Randy Travis singles chronology
"Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart"
"He Walked On Water"
"A Few Ole Country Boys"


The song is a ballad in which the narrator reminisces about his childhood admiration of his great-grandfather, a former cowboy whom he idolized.[1] The song was the first successful cut for Nashville songwriter Allen Shamblin, who told The Tennessean in 1990 that his maternal great-grandfather, "Poppy" Fugate, was the inspiration behind the song. Fugate had been a cowboy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and had told stories about this lifestyle to a young Shamblin. When Travis heard the song, he chose to record the song because it reminded him of his own grandfather.[2]

"He Walked on Water" is composed in the key of D major. It has a 4/4 time signature and a moderate tempo of approximately 92 beats per minute. The song's verses follow the chord pattern of D-G-D-A-D-G-D-A-D.[3]

Music videoEdit

A music video was made for the song. It features Travis singing the song on the front porch outside of his house. The video was nominated for Video of the year at the 1991 TNN Music City News Country Awards (now known as the CMT Music Awards).[4]

Critical receptionEdit

Kimmy Wix of Cash Box magazine reviewed the single favorably, stating in her review that "Such a ballad, with detailed lyrics to which we can all relate, certainly works well with Travis. This cut[...]is no exception."[1] Thom Jurek of Allmusic gave the song a mixed review in his review of No Holdin' Back.[5] He stated that the song "was a bad choice, though it sold well."[5]

In 2012, Travis re-recorded the song as a duet with Kenny Chesney for the compilation album Anniversary Celebration.[6]

Chart positionsEdit

Chart (1990) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[7] 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 2

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (1990) Position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[9] 2
US Country Songs (Billboard)[10] 23


  1. ^ a b Kimmy Wix (May 12, 1990). "Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box: 24.
  2. ^ Thomas Goldsmith (June 15, 1990). "Writer uses nostalgia for Travis hit". The Tennessean. pp. 1D. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  3. ^ "'He Walked on Water' sheet music". MusicNotes.com. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  4. ^ "Skip reruns, tune into another awards show". The Jackson Sun. June 9, 1991. p. 28. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Jurek, Thom. "Randy Travis - "He Walked on Water"". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
  6. ^ "Randy Travis Records Star Duets For "Anniversary Celebration"". MusicRow. April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  7. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 1312." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. August 11, 1990. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  8. ^ "Randy Travis Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "RPM Top 100 Country Tracks of 1990". RPM. December 22, 1990. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  10. ^ "Best of 1990: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1990. Retrieved August 23, 2013.

External linksEdit