One of the defining voices of the outlaw movement in country music passes away aged 64...
WAYLON JENNINGS, one of the defining voices of the outlaw movement in country music, died yesterday (February 13) at his ARIZONA home after a long battle with diabetes-related health problems. He was 64.
During a career spanning five decades, Jennings recorded some 60 albums and had 16 number one country singles. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame last year. Jennings was unable to attend the induction ceremony as the diabetes related trouble that plagued him for much of his life flared up again. His left foot was amputated in December as a result of the condition.
During the 70s, Jennings and his close friend Willie Nelson were standard bearers of the ‘Outlaw’ movement, a group of renegades who wrote and recorded well outside of country’s mainstream. Jennings and Nelson dueted on classics such as ‘Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up To Be Cowboys’ and ‘Good Hearted Woman’. In 1985, the pair formed The Highwaymen, a country supergroup dream-team with Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. They scored a Number One country album and sell-out tours in 1990 and 1995.
Jennings is perhaps best known to many as the narrator of top rating 80’s hit ‘The Dukes Of Hazzard’. He also sang the theme tune.
The star saw tragedy early in his career. He was bass player for Buddy Holly and had been due to fly on the light plane that crashed in 1959 and killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. Jennings gave up his seat on the plane to the Big Bopper, who was ill and wanted to fly rather than travel by bus.
Jennings’ attitude and vision helped plough a way for many who followed in his mould, from Steve Earle toRyan Adams