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© Orphaned Images, 1985
Waylon Jennings (1937-2002)
A Texas native and self-taught guitarist, Jennings was a disc jockey when Buddy Holly recruited him to play bass in his band. He was famous for giving up his seat to Richie Valens on Holly's fatal wintertime flight to Mason City, Iowa. He became a Nashville legend, almost as much for his open rebellion against the constraints of the producer-dominated 'Nashville Sound' of the 70’s as for his own creative abilities. Later, he secured creative control of his own recordings, establishing a precedent that is followed still. He is generally credited with starting the 'outlaw' movement in country music. The title track of his 1972 RCA release “Ladies Love Outlaws” lent the movement its name. With his friend and close collaborator, Willie Nelson, he took a career defining step with the release of "Wanted: The Outlaws!" in 1976. Later, he and Nelson collaborated on their biggest hit, "Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys", and then, along with Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson, formed the super group, The Highwaymen. Plagued by addiction and ill health, he left the road in 2001 and succumbed to diabetic complications at the age of 64.
1985 studio portrait, Nashville.