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Musical rebel Waylon Jennings is best remembered for helping to popularize a grittier and more rock-influenced style of outlaw country music.
Waylon Jennings fights the Nashville establishment.
Buddy Holly was a pioneer in the world of rock and roll and had changed the face of music at the time until his tragic death in 1959.
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Watch a short video about Johnny Cash and find out the highlights and low lights of the career of this rock, gospel and country legend.
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Waylon Jennings was born June 15, 1937, in Littlefield, Texas. By age 12 he was playing in a band and working as a radio DJ. His style evolved over time, taking on a tougher, more bass-driven sound. He befriended such artists as Willie Nelson, and formed the Highwaymen with Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson in 1985. By the time of his death,
Jennings had become a country music superstar.
Singer, songwriter, musician. Born on June 15, 1937, in Littlefield, Texas. A musical rebel, Waylon Jennings is best remembered for helping to popularize a grittier and more rock-influenced style of “outlaw” country music. He and some of his fellow artists were labeled “outlaws” for challenging the country music establishment and for their hard-partying ways.
Jennings learned to play guitar as a child. By the age of 12, he was playing in a band and working as a radio disc jockey. Jennings dropped out of school and moved to Lubbock in 1954. There he found work at a local radio station, KLLL, where he met and befriended early rock and roll star Buddy Holly. In 1958, Holly produced Jennings’ first single, “Jole Blon,” and Jennings played in Holly’s backup band, The Crickets, for a time. He was performing with the group on February 3, 1959, and he was supposed to get on a private plane with Holly after their show at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. Jennings, however, gave up his spot on the plane to rock star J. P. Richardson—better known as the Big Bopper—who wasn’t feeling well. Shortly after takeoff, the plane crashed, killing Holly, Richardson, singer Ritchie Valens, and the pilot.
Heartbroken after the tragedy, Jennings returned to Lubbock for a time and worked as a radio disc jockey. He moved to Phoenix in 1960 and restarted his musical career, forming a band called the Waylors. The group developed a local following and even recorded some singles through the independent record label Trend. While the band never really took off commercially, Jennings landed a contract with A&M Records in 1963 and moved to Los Angeles. He got into a conflict with the record label over the direction of his music. They wanted him to take on more of a pop sound. Not one to be pushed around, Jennings remained committed to his country style. He made only one album for A&M.
In 1965, Jennings moved to Nashville. He became roommates with country music’s man in black, Johnny Cash, which marked the start of a lifelong friendship. That year Jennings had his first country hit, “Stop the World (And Let Me Off).” By 1968, he had several successful singles, including “Walk On Out of My Mind” and “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line.” Jennings won his first Grammy Award in 1969 for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “MacArthur Park,” which he recorded with the Kimberlys.
Around this time, Jennings’ musical style continued to evolve, taking on a tougher, more bass-driven sound.
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When it comes to singing about struggle and emotion, there are few genres that match the intensity of country music. Country music was born from musicians that were brave enough to wear their hearts on their sleeves from happiness to heartache. Because of country icons like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Jimmie Rodgers, this southern, soulful genre has grown to become loved by many. Browse through the legends that established country music as the popular genre that it is today.
Country Legends 18 people in this group
Country Music Outlaws 5 people in this group
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