Written by the legendary Nashville songwriter Bob McDill, “Amanda” was recorded by two of the biggest names in the history of country music – none other than Don Williams and Waylon Jennings. And it’s as if the universe conspired for them to do so!
McDill describes “Amanda” as an apology to his wife. He recalled being married to his wife at a young age with a struggling career. As much as he wanted to get her the nice things, he couldn’t give her anything. And this is what the song “Amanda” is all about.
He took the somber ballad to Waylon Jennings‘ office to pitch the piece – however, the country superstar was not around. So, McDill entrusted “Amanda” to the receptionist at the front desk, telling her to make sure Jennings listened to it when he returned. But for some unknown reasons, Jennings never did!
Williams picked up the song and recorded it in the summer of 1973. It was released as the B-side of his country hit, “Come Early Morning,” and charted No. 33 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
Things Changed When Waylon Jennings Discovered the Song
Waylon Jennings quickly resonated with Don Williams‘ “Amanda” the first time he heard it on the radio. He immediately gave Bob McDill a call, confronting him as to why he didn’t give him that song – after all, it was the exact story of his life.
McDill told him, “If you look on your receptionist’s desk, I’ll bet you’ll find a copy of it. I tried my best.” Jennings vowed he’s going to record “Amanda” someday!
Indeed, he stuck with his words. Just one year later, Jennings recorded the song for his 1974 album The Ramblin’ Man. However, it did not make it to the country radio.
Even so, Jennings never gave up on the song! Nearly five years later, he added new overdubs to the original track and finally released it as a single off his compilation album, Greatest Hits. It reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and remained one of the biggest country hits to date.
You can listen to the song in the video below and choose which version you prefer.
“Amanda” by Don Williams
“Amanda” by Waylon Jennings
don williams, Waylon Jennings
I have always liked Don Williams but I like Amanda by Waylon better because of that super guitar picking and those super back up singers that give his version that haunting (in a good way) beautiful sound.