Allen Shamblin co-wrote one of the most popular country songs of the late '90s. "Don't Laugh at Me" achieved gold status when it was recorded by Mark Wills and it was named Song of the Year in 1999 by the Nashville Songwriters Association. It was also honored with a nomination in the same category from the Academy of Country Music. The folk trio of Peter, Paul & Mary covered the song that Shamblin authored with Steve Seskin, a touching number that advocates tolerance for both different and differently abled children among their peers. Many special interest groups have begun using it, including the Special Olympics, which invited Peter, Paul & Mary to sing their version of the song at the organization's World Games. Even groups aimed at adults of all sorts have unofficially adopted the plea for tolerance, including organizations for the homeless, gays, and the overweight. Shamblin has four more number one songs to his credit, "We Were in Love," "In This Life," "Walk on Faith," and "He Walked on Water."
The Tennessee native was raised near Houston, TX, in the town of Huffman. During high school, he listened to country artists Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, and Kris Kristofferson while becoming a self-taught guitar player. He studied marketing at Sam Houston State University and later found employment as an appraiser in real estate. He continued to pursue music in his off hours, writing songs in the evening. When he had 14 songs ready in 1987, he relocated to Nashville. While waiting for a songwriting deal, Shamblin supported himself with a warehouse job and by parking cars, among other things. Less than a year later, Hayes Street Music/Almo Music Corp. brought him aboard its staff. Before another year had passed, a number of artists were recording his compositions, including the Forester Sisters and Lee Greenwood. Randy Travis took Shamblin's "He Walked on Water" to the number one spot on the country charts in 1990. Five years after landing the staff job, he broke away and started the publishing company Built on Rock Music. The songwriter has produced more than 100 compositions for a diverse group of artists ranging from Prince and Bette Midler to Willie Nelson, Patty Loveless, Dolly Parton, and Wynonna Judd, among others. ~ Linda Seida