Don Schlitz is a singing, smiling monopoly.
For one thing, he's the only one writing Don Schlitz songs, the lyrics of which have been quoted by presidents and pundits, actors and ballplayers and Muppets and preachers and others.
Schlitz wrote a song called "The Gambler" long ago (no, not on a warm summer's evening: He wrote it in the afternoon), and that one possesses what may be the most-quoted chorus in American song. "The Gambler" was Schlitz's first hit as a songwriter, and had he never written another tune then that one would likely have landed him in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Rather than treat that success as a license to loaf, Schlitz, took it as a license to create, and he wound up penning "Forever and Ever Amen," "On The Other Hand," "I Take My Chances," "The Greatest," "When You Say Nothing At All" and hundreds of other songs, winning Grammys and CMA Awards and crafting a catalogue that would have landed him in the Songwriters Hall of Fame had he never written "The Gambler." He also moved beyond the radio, providing the soundtrack to Broadway's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer . For that theatre piece, Schlitz married his sensibilities to those of another wry storyteller, Mark Twain, who once wrote to a friend, "I am hard at work... merely for the love of it." Schlitz understands that notion.
"In the end, there is only one engulfing reason to be a songwriter... the love of music, the joy of creating," Schlitz said. "The percentage of writers who make 'fortunes' is small, and none of them struck it rich without going through leaner times. You could take all of their money away, and they would still be writing songs. Why? Because they love it.... You do it for the sake of the song. And that is the best possible reason."
And so there are millions of people out there who know Don Schlitz but have never heard of him. They know his wisdom, as conveyed in a gambler's advice. They know his empathy, as heard in "Give Me Wings." They know his conviction, as heard in "Old School" and "On The Other Hand," and they've known his humor since the day they heard Mary Chapin Carpenter singing "I Feel Lucky."
Some people come to Nashville, catch a Schlitz show and marvel at their chance to meet the guy they've known for all these years. It is at his shows where Schlitz extends his monopoly. He's not only the only one writing Don Schlitz songs, he's the only one singing them from the inside out, and sharing the stories behind them. He's the only one illuminating the songs and the moment and in some ways an entire music city with a delivery that is hilarious, elliptical and heartfelt. And the delivery changes each night, just like the set list. He might be singing one of the hits he wrote for The Judds or Reba McEntire, and he might be singing something that was a blank page that morning and that might be recorded by Kenny Chesney or George Strait before long. Either way, he sings the songs in a flannel voice, smiles in between some of the lines, and watches the people watching him. Invariably, there’ll be someone laughing with a tear in their eye. It’s a concert unlike any other in music: The ultimate inside-Nashville experience is watching Don Schlitz play monopoly.
- 2012 Inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York City. Fellow 2012 inductees: Bob Seger, Gordon Lightfoot, Jim Steinman, Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt.
- 2010 Released "Greatest Hits"
- 2010 Inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame
- 2010 Received the Academy of Country Music's Poet's Award for lifetime achievement in songwriting
- 2010 "Allergic to Crazy". First studio album in 30 years.
- 2007 ASCAP Artistic Achievement Award
- 2001 "Live at the Bluebird Cafe" album released on American Originals
- 2001 "Adventures of Tom Sawyer" musical opens on Broadway. Music and lyrics by Don Schlitz.
- 1999 Inducted into North Carolina Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame
- 1993 Inducted into Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame
- 1992 Country Music Association President’s Award for Special Contributions
- 1991 ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year
- 1990 ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year
- 1989 ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year
- 1988 ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year
- 1988 Grammy Country Song of the Year:
Forever and Ever, Amen
- 1987 Academy of Country Music Song of the Year:
Forever and Ever, Amen
- 1987 Country Music Association Song of the Year:
Forever and Ever, Amen
- 1986 Nashville Songwriters Association International Song of the Year: On the Other Hand
- 1986 Academy of Country Music Song of the Year:
On the Other Hand
- 1980 "Dreamers Matinee" album released on Capitol Records
- 1979 Grammy Country Song of the Year:
- 1979 Country Music Association Song of the Year: