Allen Shamblin

Induction Year: 2011

Birth Name: James Allen Shamblin II

Birth Date: 05-13-1959

Place of Birth: Cleveland, Tennessee

Tennessee-born and Texas-reared, Allen Shamblin has written hundreds of notable songs, including two modern classic ballads. With Mike Reid, he wrote Bonnie Raitt's searing "I Can't Make You Love Me," and he and Tom Douglas penned "The House That Built Me," recorded in 2010 by Miranda Lambert and recognized as a CMA, ACM, ASCAP and NSAI Song of the Year.

Shamblin worked in Austin, Texas as a real-estate appraiser prior to moving to Nashville in 1987. Three years later, he had his first country hit with Randy Travis' recording of "He Walked on Water." In early 1991, Shamblin and Reid's "Walk on Faith" topped country charts, and Shamblin had found a place as a Music Row mainstay. Raitt's 1991 recording of "I Can't Make You Love Me" took his music far beyond the Row: Named by Mojo magazine as #8 on its 100 Greatest Songs of All Time list, the song has remained in favor for decades, recorded by George Michael, Kenny Rogers, Boyz II Men, Kelly Clarkson, Adele and many others.

"To see people still singing it and breathing new life is just amazing, and Bonnie's original version had such a power and authenticity that I think it's inspired other people to want to sing it," Shamblin told The Tennessean in 2012.

In 2010, Shamblin and Douglas' "The House That Built Me" became Lambert's first #1 hit, and it stayed atop Billboard's "Hot Country" chart for a month. The song was based on Shamblin's bittersweet experiences returning to the Hoffman, Texas home of his youth. While "The House That Built Me," "I Can't Make You Love Me" and the 1998 NSAI Song of the Year "Don't Laugh at Me" are contemplative ballads, Shamblin's catalog of hits includes much in the way of up-tempo songs (Keith Urban's "Where the Blacktop Ends," John Michael Montgomery's "Life's a Dance"). In the mid-1990s, he also had major success with the exuberant honky-tonk of "Thinkin' Problem," a #2 country hit in 1994.

Shamblin sees little use in willing songs into existence by determining to write a particular kind of song. "Great songs are not written by willpower; they are written by yielding and serving the idea," he told songwriters at a 2012 ASCAP gathering. "Music comes from life. Don't miss your life. Embrace that moment, that distraction. That is where the songs are."

"As Simple As That"

(written with Mike Reid)

Mike Reid1991 #14 country

"Born Ready"

(written with Dave Gibson)

James House1989 
Jesse Hunter1994 #56 country

"Don't Laugh at Me"

(written with Steve Seskin)

Mark Wills1998 #2 country, #73 pop
Peter Paul & Mary1999  
Michael Black2007 

"Flies on the Butter"

(written with Austin Cunningham, Marion Cannon)

Wynonna with Naomi Judd2004 #33 country

"He Walked on Water"

Randy Travis1990 #2 country

"I Can't Make You Love Me"

(written with Mike Reid)

Bonnie Raitt1991 #6 adult contemporary, #18 pop
Kenny Rogers1999 
Patti LaBelle2005 
Angela Hacker2007 
Boyz II Men2009 
Bon Iver2011 

"In This Life"

(written with Mike Reid)

Collin Raye1992 #1 country, #21 adult contemporary
Bette Midler1995 
Kirk Whalum1995 

"Life's a Dance"

(written with Steve Seskin)

John Michael Montgomery1992 #4 country

"Live Laugh Love"

(written with Gary Nicholson)

Clay Walker1999 #11 country, #74 pop
Daniel O'Donnell2002 

"Man of My Word"

(written with Gary Burr)

Collin Raye1994 #8 country

"Somewhere in Between"

(written with Jon Vezner)

Dude Mowrey1994 #57 country

"Standing on the Promises"

(written with Lionel Cartwright)

Lionel Cartwright1992 #50 country

"The House That Built Me"

(written with Tom Douglas)

CMA, ACM, ASCAP, NSAI Song of Year

Miranda Lambert2010 #1 country, #28 pop

"The King of Dixie"

(written with Marty Stuart)

Marty Stuart1992 

"Thinkin' Problem"

(written with David Ball, Stuart Ziff)

David Ball1994 #2 country, #40 pop

"Walk on Faith"

(written with Mike Reid)

Mike Reid1990 #1 country

"We Were in Love"

(written with Marion Cannon)

Toby Keith1997 #2 country

"What I'm For"

(written with Marc Beeson)

Pat Green2009 #28 country

"Where the Blacktop Ends"

(written with Steve Wariner)

Keith Urban2001 #3 country, #35 pop


(written with Robert Mathes)

Rascal Flatts2009 #18 country

Allen Shamblin

Induction Year: 2011