January 25

The Outlaw Waylon Jennings’ Good Hearted Woman

Good Hearted Woman is a single and an album by Waylon Jennings that RCA Records released in 1972. At first, Jennings released a solo version of “Good Hearted Woman”. However, his duet with Nelson rocketed to No. 1. Apart from that, the song won the CMA for Single of the Year in 1976 and even became a minor pop hit. The song “Good Hearted Woman” is part of every Top 100 Country Songs. In addition, some list this as perhaps the greatest duet of all time.

Jennings’ Fight and Victory for “Good Hearted Woman”

Jennings’ inspiration in writing the song came from an announcement. When he saw the newspaper advertisement promoting Tina Turner as a “good hearted woman loving a two-timing man”, he got the idea.

Along with Ladies Love Outlaws (late 1972) and Lonesome, On’ry and Mean (early 1973), Good Hearted Woman changed Jennings. Waylon Jennings became one of the representatives of the outlaw country movement. The LP (long play) contains a slew of songs that Willie Nelson, Tony Joe White, and Kris Kristofferson wrote. These likeminded songwriters’ compositions were pushing the boundaries of the conservative country music establishment. At that time, Jennings had gotten frustrations from the assembly line production at RCA for years. He became the most powerful voice in the change which they called “progressive country” music.

In the audio version of his Waylon: An Autobiography, the singer recounted his frustrations. He said that he would think of ideas. Before he got a chance to put them down, they would tell him he was wrong.  As an answer, he asked back what they meant by ‘It’s wrong’.  He explained further that it would make the record skip if they put the big drum beat on it. He also added that they did not understand the rhythm, that they had to smooth it out or the radio would never play the song. The best reason Jennings gave was ‘It’s not country’. Lastly, Jennings frankly said that he always hated labels and that they kept trying to stick one on him.


Every time one listens to Waylon Jennings’ and Willie Nelson’s comeback after the key change in Good Hearted Woman, it will send shivers up one’s spine.  They performed this song many times together in the past.


good hearted woman, Outlaw, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson

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