The friendship between Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr. resulted in one epic collaboration, titled “The Conversation.”
The song was originally released on Williams’ 1979 album Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound. Four years later, their collaboration was reissued on Jennings’ album Waylon and Company, composed almost entirely of duets.
Though Williams and Jennings’ “The Conversation” was just a moderate hit on the charts, peaking only at No. 15, it became a much more legendary song due to the singers’ fans who have loved it through the years. It was even more popular in Canada, where it hit No. 12.
Two Old Friends Separating Man From Myth
Written by Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr. together with Jennings’ drummer Richie Albright, “The Conversation” is a fun discussion between friends about country music; and Williams’s legendary father, Hank Williams, in particular.
“Hank, let’s talk about your daddy. Tell me how your momma loved that man,” Jennings suggested in the song to which Williams Jr. agreed, “Well, just break a bottle hoss. I’ll tell ya’ about the drifting cowboy band.”
For years, Hank Williams Jr. dealt with the fallout from his parents’ divorce, father’s death, and the public’s perception of him being the son of the country legend. By 1979, Williams had honed his image as the rebel child with his own outlaw identity, a persona he is carrying with him to this day.
“The Conversation” found Williams dispelling some of the mythology that had followed his father in death, which certainly had an adverse effect on him too. Overall, the song is just two old friends separating man from a myth wherein the most heartbreaking line has to be, “Most folks don’t know they fired him from the Opry, and that caused his greatest pain.”
“Yeah, back then, they called him crazy. Nowadays, they call him a saint. Now the ones that call him crazy. Are still riding on his name,” Williams and Jennings singing together. The two artists managed to beautifully pay tribute to one of the most important, influential songwriters of all time.
To make things even more incredible, the two outlaws made an accompanying music video for the epic song, which was a rarity in the genre at the time. In fact, it was so rare that the music video for “The Conversation” was the first one Jennings had ever recorded and was only Williams’ second.
Tune in below and watch two of the biggest stars to ever grace country music in one epic collaboration. The magic that happened every time Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr. shared the stage was something no one could explain.
Hank Williams Jr., Waylon Jennings