Waylon Jennings

Easton Press Waylon Jennings books

Waylon: autobiography - signed first edition - 1996


Musician Waylon Jennings

Waylon Arnold Jennings, born on June 15, 1937, in Littlefield, Texas, was an American singer, songwriter, and influential figure in the outlaw country music movement. With a distinctive voice, rebellious spirit, and a career spanning several decades, Waylon Jennings left an indelible mark on the country music landscape. Raised in a musical family, Jennings showed an early interest in music, particularly country and rockabilly. He played guitar at a young age and, by the time he was a teenager, was performing on local radio stations. In 1958, Jennings became the bassist for Buddy Holly's band, The Crickets. His association with Holly had a profound impact on his musical style and career.

A tragic twist of fate altered Jennings' life on February 3, 1959, when he gave up his seat on a small plane to J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, who was ill. The plane, also carrying Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, crashed, resulting in their deaths. This event haunted Jennings and deeply influenced his approach to life and music.

Jennings' solo career took off in the 1960s, marked by a string of hits that showcased his distinctive voice and genre-defying style. His rebellious attitude and refusal to conform to Nashville's traditional sound earned him a reputation as an outlaw in the country music scene. In 1972, Jennings released the seminal album Ladies Love Outlaws, solidifying his outlaw image. The following year, he achieved widespread acclaim with the album Honky Tonk Heroes, featuring songs written by fellow outlaw country artist Billy Joe Shaver. A defining moment in Jennings' career came with the release of the 1976 album Wanted! The Outlaws, which also featured Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser, and Jessi Colter. It became the first country album to be certified platinum and played a crucial role in popularizing outlaw country.

Known for hits like "Good Hearted Woman," "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" (with Willie Nelson), and "Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)," Jennings continued to push the boundaries of country music. His distinctive blend of honky-tonk, rock, and outlaw sensibilities made him a trailblazer in the genre.

Waylon Jennings' career included collaborations with other iconic artists and numerous accolades, including Grammy Awards and the Country Music Association's Male Vocalist of the Year in 1975. His rebellious spirit and authentic approach endeared him to fans and left an enduring legacy in country music. Waylon Jennings passed away on February 13, 2002, but his impact on country music continues through his timeless recordings and the lasting influence he had on subsequent generations of musicians who embraced the outlaw country ethos.

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