Waylon Jennings

Waylon Jennings' career nearly ended before it began when, as Buddy Holly's bass player, he narrowly escaped being in the 1959 plane crash that killed Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, when he gave up his seat to someone else at the last minute. From Littlefield, Texas, Jennings learned to play guitar when he was eight and first appeared on his local radio station at 12, going on to lead his own band the Texas Longhorns and dropping out of school to pursue his musical ambitions. Moving to Lubbock he met Holly, who arranged Jennings' first recording session when he laid down the tracks 'Jolie Blon' and 'When Sin Stops', released with little success on the Brunswick label. He joined Holly's band and after the plane crash worked in radio in Arizona before forming another band The Waylors. Moving to Los Angeles, Jennings was signed by A&M Records and had a few local hits, but fell out with label boss Herb Alpert who tried to shift his style from country to pop. However, when Chet Atkins signed him to RCA Victor in 1965 his career began to take off in earnest with the single 'That's the Chance I'll Have to Take', followed by the albums 'Folk-Country', 'Leavin' Town' and 'Nashville Rebel'. His first major hit single was the 1967 'Just to Satisfy You' and the 1972 album 'Ladies Love Outlaws' effectively launched a new genre dubbed outlaw country. Flying in the face of Nashville's staid traditions, he did much to popularise country music with the crossover albums 'Honky Tonk Heroes', 'Dreaming My Dreams' and 'Are You Ready for fhe Country' appealing to the rock market. In Willie Nelson he found a kindred spirit and the two self-styled outlaws recorded the celebrated 'Willie & Waylon' album together and had hits with 'Luckenbach', T'exas' and 'Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys'. In the mid-1980s Jennings and Nelson teamed up with Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson in another successful group, The Highwaymen. In 1998 he became part of another group, The Old Dogs, with other veteran country stars Bobby Bare, Jerry Reed and Mel Tillis. Eventually, due to ill health brought on by years of drug abuse, and the wish to spend time with his family, Jennings made the decision to stop touring. He passed away in 2002 at the age of 64.

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Stations Featuring Waylon Jennings

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