Country music lost a pioneer and an outlaw on February 13, 2002, when Waylon Jennings died of complications from diabetes.
Jennings’ career began in the early days of rock ‘n’ roll, when his first record was produced by Buddy Holly, with whom he toured as bass player. His first Top 5 hit, “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line,” was followed soon after by a Grammy® for his version of “MacArthur Park,” and he was the Country Music Association’s Male Vocalist of the Year in 1975.
Jennings was best known, however, for the Wanted: The Outlaws album on which he collaborated with Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser and Jessi Colter, his wife. With its electric sound and artist-driven production, the Outlaws album broke the country/rock barrier in a way that many in the country establishment considered subversive, but it tremendously increased the genre’s following at the time.
Over the course of his career, Jennings received two Grammys; 13 Gold albums; and one Platinum, two double-Platinum and one quadruple-Platinum albums. He was inducted into the Country Hall of Fame in October 2001, long after he would have been if he had broken fewer rules. In 1998, Jennings told Mix, “When it ceases to be fun, then I’ll go where I want to. I have a home here [in Nashville] and a home in Arizona. I don’t have to have music or the business in my life, because I’m very happy. I’ve had a good run at it.” Jennings’ deep and honest voice will be missed by all music fans.
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