On This Date: 20 Years Ago, Randy Travis Released His 16th #1 Hit Single “Three Wooden Crosses”

Randy Travis country music

“There are three wooden crosses on the right side of the highway, why there’s not four of them, Heaven only knows…”

On this 20 day years ago in 2002, Randy Travis released one of the signature songs of his career with his hit single “Three Wooden Crosses.”

Written by Kim Williams and Doug Johnson, it was released as a single in November of 2002 from his Rise and Shine album. A song about tragedy, redemption and faith that endures, it’s easily one of his most recognizable songs and a country music classic.

And because the song resonated so widely and so deeply with a variety of different people, it even cracked the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #31.

It was Randy’s 16th chart-topping hit, the first since his 1994 hit “Whisper My Name,” and ultimately become his final #1 single.

It also won him the CMA for Song of the Year in 2003, as well as a Dove Award from the Gospel Music Association as Country Song of the Year in 2004.

As a poor old country boy from Marshville, North Carolina, who has certainly had his own fair share of public struggles and hardships over his very successful decades-long career in country music, it’s hard to put into words just how important this song is for Randy’s career and what it means to so many people.

And there’s no tellin’ how much it has impacted countless lives throughout the world, and for me personally, it holds a very special place in my heart.

For one thing, I can’t drive anywhere out in the country here in North Carolina and not see at least one wooden cross somewhere on a hill or in a field, and of course, this song always comes to mind when I do.

I would say I’m biased, because Randy is beyond being a legend or icon around here, but this is easily one of the greatest country songs of all time, and delivered with those perfect, twangy, rich baritone vocals, is absolute perfection.

And there’s just somethin’ special about him singin’ it at the Grand Ole Opry back in 2012:

“Three Wooden Crosses”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock