Last January 25, the sad news about Waylon Jennings’ eldest son Terry Jennings’ death broke the hearts of many country music fans and supporters. Almost a month after, we are commemorating the 17th death anniversary of Terry’s father, Waylon. These events might be hard on the Jennings’ family. For two consecutive months each year, they’ll be memorializing two losses in the family. While death naturally exudes sadness on the part of those who were left behind, it is also a great time to honor the legacies of those who’ve gone to the afterlife.

Remembering one of the most notable artists of outlaw country music, Waylon Jennings, on his 17 death anniversary.

Photo credit: Waylon Jennings/Official Facebook Page

Waylon Jennings’ Musical Legacy

Music runs in the blood of the Jennings family. Waylon’s mother had been interested in music and Waylon inherited that. Like many music legends, Waylon’s interest in music started to come out at a young age. He began playing the guitar at eight and had appeared on his own in a weekly radio show at 12. By the age of 16, Waylon was already focusing on his music career after giving up his chance to go to college. While working as a DJ for a local radio station, KVOW, Waylon was also performing on air.

Waylon began working with Buddy Holly after his transfer to KDAV in Lubbock, Texas. Their collaboration was only cut short following Holly’s tragic death. They were at the Winter Dance Party Tour when the accident happened. Waylon had to fill in Holly’s place as the band’s lead singer.

In 1965, Waylon signed with RCA Victor and began releasing his albums. Throughout his career, Waylon had recorded and released 45 albums and scored chart-topping hits. Among his top records include “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” “I’m a Ramblin’ Man,” and “Theme from the Dukes of Hazzard (Good ‘Ol Boys).”

Together with Willie Nelson, Waylon started crafting what would be called as the outlaw movement in country music. Waylon was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in October 2011.

Illness and Death

Waylon had one of the most successful careers in country music. However, his personal life had been filled with struggles. He had a long battle with drug addiction. And even after he underwent rehabilitation, the singer continued smoking cigarettes until 1988. Waylon had also been battling with diabetes causing the amputation of his left foot two months after his induction.

On February 13, 2002, Waylon passed away in his sleep at his home at the age of 64.