Waylon Jennings

Country, Musical Artist

1937 – 2002

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Who was Waylon Jennings?

Waylon Arnold Jennings was an American country music singer, songwriter, and musician. Jennings began playing guitar at 8 and began performing at 12 on KVOW radio. He formed a band, The Texas Longhorns. Jennings worked as a D.J. on KVOW, KDAV, KYTI, and KLLL. In 1958, Buddy Holly arranged Jennings's first recording session, of “Jole Blon” and “When Sin Stops.” Holly hired him to play bass. During the “Winter Dance Party Tour,” in Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly chartered a plane to arrive at the next venue. Jennings gave up his seat in the plane to J. P. Richardson, who was suffering from a cold. The flight that carried Holly, Richardson, and Ritchie Valens crashed, on the day later known as The Day the Music Died. Following the accident, Jennings worked as a D.J. in Coolidge, Arizona, and Phoenix. He formed a rockabilly club band, The Waylors. He recorded for independent label Trend Records, A&M Records before succeeding with RCA Victor after achieving creative control of his records.

During the 1970s, Jennings joined the Outlaw movement. He released critically acclaimed albums Lonesome, On'ry and Mean and Honky Tonk Heroes, followed by hit albums Dreaming My Dreams and Are You Ready for the Country. In 1976 he released the album Wanted! The Outlaws with Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser, and Jessi Colter, the first platinum country music album. The success of the album was followed by Ol' Waylon, and the hit song “Luckenbach, Texas.” By the early 1980s, Jennings was struggling with a cocaine addiction, which he quit in 1984. Later he joined the country supergroup The Highwaymen with Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash. During that period, Jennings released the successful album Will the Wolf Survive. He toured less after 1997, to spend more time with his family. Between 1999 and 2001, his appearances were limited by health problems. On February 13, 2002, Jennings died from complications of diabetes.

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Jun 15, 1937
Also known as
  • Wayland Arnold Jennings
  • United States of America
Lived in
  • Texas
Feb 13, 2002

on July 23, 2013


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Discuss this Waylon Jennings biography with the community:

  • Michael Clay Edwards
    Michael Clay Edwards
    One of the greatest baritone voices EVER IN COUNTRY MUSIC!!! And as good of an entertainer as there ever was ! Lucky to see him perform 3 times And would have seen him a hundred if I could have! His early music is the epitome of Western Swing music First popularized by Bob Wills!!! He staid relevant though up through the 80’s and into the 90’s with his outlaw brand of music and style! Should always be talked about in the same vein of influencers of Country, and even rock music, with Willie Meldon, Johnny Cash and Hank Dr. and Hank Jr,!!! 
    LikeReply 12 years ago
  • Brian Davidson
    Brian Davidson
    As the lyrics in one of Hank Jr's songs, they'll play his songs till the end of time!
    LikeReply 13 years ago

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