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September 8

Watch: The Immortal Takeaways of Billy Joe Shaver & his Song, ‘Live Forever’

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Billy Joe Shaver is born in Corsicana, Texas. A country music singer and songwriter whose  writing credits include Waylon Jennings’ “You Ask Me To,” Johnny Rodriguez’s “I Couldn’t Be Me Without You” and John Anderson’s “I’m Just An Old Chunk Of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be A Diamond Someday).” I’m going to “Live Forever” was a big hit also recorded by Johnny Cash & others. In Billy Joe’s earlier days He wrote many songs for Bobby Bare as well.

Enjoy his very own version here.

He was first exposed to country music when he accompanied his mother at her job at a local nightclub. In 1962, he met an accident. Shaver took a job at a lumber mill to make ends meet. One day his right hand (his dominant hand) became caught in the machinery, and he lost the better part of two fingers and contracted a serious infection. He eventually recovered and taught himself to play the guitar without those missing fingers.

The Quest

That, however, did not stop him. He set out to Los Angeles, California hitchhiking but it brought him to Memphis, Tennessee then to Nashville where he found a job as a songwriter for $50 per week. His work came to the attention of Waylon Jennings, who filled most of his album Honky Tonk Heroes with Shaver’s songs. Other artists, including Elvis Presley and Kris Kristofferson, began to record Shaver’s music. This led to his own record deal. That was the start of his glory days as continued to work with major rock and country music musicians like Willie Nelson, Nanci Griffith, Chuck Leavell and Dickey Betts (of the Allman Brothers), Charlie Daniels, Flaco Jiménez, and Al Kooper.

Sadly, in 1999, he lost his wife and mother to cancer in 1999. Then in 2000, he lost his son and guitarist to heroin addiction. In 2001, he almost lost his life too due to a heart attack, but he returned in 2002 after a successful heart surgery.

The Induction

In 1999, Shaver performed at the Grand Ole Opry. In November 2005, he performed on the CMT Outlaws 2005. In 2006, Shaver was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. For his efforts, the Americana Music Convention awarded him their Lifetime Achievement Award in Songwriting. He currently lives in Waco, Texas.

Billy Joe Shaver is definitely a really talented songwriter and is a fighter as well. We hope to hear more of his masterpiece in the years to come.


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billy joe shaver, live forever, Waylon Jennings


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