While Jessi Colter songs were often outshined by the music of her husband, Waylon Jennings, we can all agree that she’s one of the key artists in the Outlaw movement.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Colter affiliated herself with outlaw imagery long before the musical movement was born. She had actually taken her stage name from a real outlaw: her great-grandfather Jess Colter, who was a real-life Wild West train robber and counterfeiter in the 1870s.
At the age of 15, she began sneaking out to perform in bars, which eventually led to her five decades-long music career where she would perform solo as well as with collaborators – and end up with successful results.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of Jessi Colter‘s greatest hits.
1. I’m Not Lisa
This was Colter’s first major hit as a solo artist, where she describes the pain that comes from loving someone who is not over their former lover. “I’m Not Lisa” was sung from the point of view of the man’s present lover named Julie. She mourns the fact that her man has not gotten over Lisa, who was taken away by “His hand” – giving the impression that she may have died.
2. Suspicious Minds
The song – which sings about a distrusting and dysfunctional relationship – was one of the singles that revived Elvis Presley’s chart success in the United States. “Suspicious Minds” has since become one of his most memorable hits.
Colter recorded the song with her husband Waylon Jennings in 1970 and re-released it six years later. Its new version reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and even earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
3. What’s Happened to Blue Eyes
Written by Colter herself, the song tells the story of a woman looking for her lover who goes by the name “blue eyes.” She’s wondering if anyone has seen him at the same time, hoping that he has not yet decided to put their relationship to an end.
The tender ballad became another country hit for Colter, peaking at No. 5 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. It was also a minor hit on the Pop chart.
In 1981, Colter and Jennings recorded the song on their duet album, Leather and Lace.
4. It’s Morning (And I Still Love You)
The third among her consecutive hit singles on the country chart – reaching No. 11 on Billboard’s country chart – the song wonders how a couple can still find themselves in love, despite waking up at each other’s side every morning. It goes on explaining how it is lonely when one already sees everything there is to see.
5. Under Your Spell Again
This country hit – about a man caught by the spell of his former lover and was hoping to be with her again despite knowing that it’s no longer right – was first made famous by Buck Owens in 1959. Since then, several artists have covered the song, including Colter and Jennings.
6. The Wild Side of Life / It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels
In 1981, Colter and Jennings blended these two songs into one country hit. The duet reached No. 10 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
“The Wild Side of Life” was actually first released by Hank Thompson in 1952, where blamed a bar-hopping wife for wrecking their family. Meanwhile, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” was Kitty Wells’ answer to the country classic hit – challenging the role of a girl in a country song.
7. Storms Never Last
Colter closed her sophomore album with a song she wrote inspired by a photo she found in a magazine while she was at her doctor’s office. It was an image of a home totally ruined by a tornado, along with it was a quote from the home’s resident: “Storms never last.”
In 1980, Jennings also recorded the powerful ballad. Though Colter did not appear in that version, her husband made sure to mention her at the song’s end. The husband-and-wife duo later recorded the song as a duet.
8. I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name
Though the song was only a minor hit for Colter – peaking at No. 29 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart – it was one that truly stands out in her ten-track studio album that includes a cover of The Beatles’s “Hey Jude.”
More Jessi Colter Songs That Made The Outlaw Movement Even Stronger
Indeed, these songs of Jessi Colter only show how talented and versatile she is. Keep on scrolling below and enjoy more of her best tracks.
So, which among these are your favorite Jessi Colter songs?