Randy VanWarmer

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Randy VanWarmer
Birth name Randall Edwin Van Wormer
Born (1955-03-30)March 30, 1955
Indian Hills, Colorado, U.S.
Origin Woodstock, New York, U.S.[1]
Died January 12, 2004(2004-01-12) (aged 48)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Genres Soft rock[2]
Occupation(s) Musician, singer, songwriter
Years active 1978–2004
Labels Bearsville Records

Randy VanWarmer (sometimes Vanwarmer, Van Warmer; March 30, 1955 – January 12, 2004) was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. His biggest success was the pop hit, "Just When I Needed You Most". It reached #8 on the UK Singles Chart in September 1979[3] after peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100[4] and #1 on Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks[5] earlier that year.

He wrote several songs for the group The Oak Ridge Boys including the #1 U.S. Country hit "I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes". The song appeared on his 1981 album Beat of Love, which also included the pop tune "Suzi Found a Weapon", which hit #55 on the Billboard Hot 100.


He was born Randall Van Wormer, in Indian Hills, Colorado, the son of Roger Van Wormer (1919-1967)[6][7] and Betsy (née Harry; 1919-2006)[8]. At 15, three years after the death of his father in an automobile accident, he moved with his mother to Cornwall, England. His experiences there inspired "Just When I Needed You Most".[9]

In a 1989 interview with Release,[9] a now-defunct independent paper from Stanford, California, Van Warmer said that Albert Grossman, the head of Bearsville, would not let him do television or tour the United States, a strategy that did not prove successful.

His follow-up album, Terraform, was dark and (compared to his previous work) almost alternative. According to Release,[9] Terraform sold moderately in Japan and Australia. VanWarmer would later publicly rue his decision to turn away from dreamy ballads. He made two more records at Bearsville: Beat of Love and The Things That You Dream. Beat of Love included the single "Suzi Found a Weapon", a tribute to a Bearsville public relations rep whom VanWarmer would later woo and marry, and which went to #1 in Alaska and gained a certain amount of post mortem acclaim (for example, a rave by James A. Gardner in his "Allmusic"). But Grossman died soon thereafter, and VanWarmer's future was in doubt.

According to Release,[9] in the mid 1980s Suzi VanWarmer mailed a song called "I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes" from Beat of Love to a friend at MCA, who sent it to Ron Chancey, the producer of the Oak Ridge Boys. They put it on their next album. Charley Pride recorded a song of VanWarmer's, as did Michael Johnson. Moving to Nashville, VanWarmer saw a recording of his song, "I'm in a Hurry (And Don't Know Why)", also hit #1 on the country chart by Alabama.

VanWarmer continued to write music for others and for his own recordings, which continued to be artistically successful but commercially unsuccessful. He also helped other younger artists with their own songwriting efforts.

His final album was a tribute to Stephen Foster, released posthumously only in Japan. According to the CD's liner notes, VanWarmer played all the instruments. The notes also indicate that he completed work on the record a few days after learning he had leukemia; he died at 48, one day before the anniversary of Foster's death.

In line with one of his greatest loves, some of his cremated remains were sent into space in 2007, and then again in 2012 aboard the first successful private space flight to the International Space Station, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.[10]


VanWarmer died on January 12, 2004, in Seattle. He had been suffering from leukemia for the previous year.[11] He is survived by his wife Suzi, his mother Betsy, and his brothers Dave, Mark, and Ron.[12]


  • Warmer – 1979
  • Terraform – 1980
  • Beat of Love – 1981
  • The Things That You Dream – 1983
  • I Am – 1988
  • Every Now and Then – 1990
  • The Third Child – 1994
  • The Vital Spark – 1994 (Alternate title: I Will Whisper Your Name)
  • Sun, Moon and Stars – 1996
  • Sings Stephen Foster – 2005
  • Songwriter – 2006


Year Single Chart Positions
1979 "Gotta Get Out of Here"
"Just When I Needed You Most" 4 71 1 32 5 8 17
1980 "Call Me"
"Whatever You Decide" 77
"Hanging on to Heaven"
1981 "Doesn't Matter Anymore"
"All We Have Is Tonight" 92
"Suzi Found a Weapon" 55 88
1988 "I Will Hold You" 53
"Where the Rocky Mountains Touch the Morning Sun" 72


  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Biography". Billboard. Rovi Corp. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  2. ^ Breithaupt, Don; Breithaupt, Jeff (2000). "The Linen · Soft Rock". Night Moves: Pop Music in the Late '70s. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-19821-3.
  3. ^ UK Singles Chart info from chartstats.com
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 657.
  5. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of No. 1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), pages 228–9.
  6. ^ "Roger Van Wormer in household of Frank Van Wormer, "United States Census, 1930".
  7. ^ https://www.geni.com/people/Roger-VanWarmer/6000000011195371525
  8. ^ https://www.geni.com/people/Elizabeth-Betsy-VanWarmer/6000000011195419440
  9. ^ a b c d Drachman, Steven. "Randy VanWarmer's Life After the Song". Release. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  10. ^ cnn.com on May 24, 2012 – http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/24/showbiz/spacex-scottys-ashes/index.html?hpt=hp_t2
  11. ^ Press, From Associated (15 January 2004). "Randy VanWarmer, 48; Singer, Country Songwriter". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  12. ^ https://www.celestis.com/participants-testimonials/randy-vanwarmer/

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