October 21

Outlaws Prevail in Waylon Jennings’ “Honky Tonk Heroes”


We all have our own different forms of heroes. For some, it is mostly magical, one that has a cape and can fly across borders. However, during 1973, heroes come in forms of Waylon Jennings and his frequent collaborator and songwriter, an unsung hero himself, Billy Joe Shaver. In 1973, when Honky Tonk music is considered a dying art, Waylon Jennings decided to revive the genre in Nashville by releasing an album of the same name, Honky Tonk Heroes. If the so-called bro country was alive that time, it could have been destroyed easily by this album and song.

Honky Tonk Heroes, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joe Shaver

1973 is a good year to be a Waylon Jennings as he is not only a rising start but an important proponent of the outlaw country movement. In an interview with Songfacts, writer, Billy Joe Shaver shared an important history about the outlaw country:

“We were a different bunch of people in from Texas, and we didn’t dress up in white ties and things like that – just jeans – and it was different. But when we hit, everybody went our direction and the foundation got laid that was kind of outcast but became a cornerstone of the whole mess. I say ‘mess,’ but the whole institution of Nashville, they were thankful after a while. They realized that it really helped more than it hurt. And a lot of things have been done on top of that now, and it’s still rolling. I think it’s a great thing.”

At the time, Waylon was just great, so great, and I knew something was gonna happen good for him, and sure enough, it helped me and it helped him, too, and that’s a pretty good trade.

Oh well, how we wish we could go back to that era of greatness!

Listen to the music below and let us know what you think:


billy joe shaver, outlaws, Waylon Jennings

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