In 1981, country music couple Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter dropped their duet version of Colter’s “Storms Never Last.” And it was a heartwarming, wonderful display of love between two lovely, beautiful human beings.
In a 1973 interview with Rolling Stone’s Chet Flippo, Waylon Jennings said that he had been at the lowest point of his life, weighing 138 pounds and at the brink of destruction. “Wallerin’ in self-pity was the biggest part of it, stayin’ depressed all the time and stoned. Jess was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
And they just weren’t a couple; they were also collaborators. One of those was a song – and arguably their best duet – that bared the truths of their relationship titled “Storms Never Last.”
The track was penned by Jessi Colter herself, and she originally released it as the closing track of her 1975 album I’m Jessi Colter. In 1980, Jennings recorded a solo version of his 1980 LP Music Man. While Colter wasn’t in that version, she had always been name-checked by her husband after he finished the song. She asked him not to do that to make it more universal.
Then, in 1981, they finally released a duet version from their duet album Leather and Lace under RCA Records.
Meaning Behind the Song
The song was inspired by a photo Colter found in her doctor’s office when she picked up a magazine. It was a home wrecked by a tornado, and the caption said, “Storms never last.” The message of holding on to their love despite the tumultuous nature of their relationship was simple yet powerful. And it definitely carried Colter through the end of Jenning’s life in 2002.
But what really made the song so memorable was the couple’s emotional and sincere delivery. In fact, it became a favorite song to cover by artists like Miranda Lambert, John Prine and Lee Ann Womack, David Allan Coe, Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis, and Allison Moorer, to name a few, releasing their versions.
Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter’s “Storms Never Last” will make you believe that love does endure through all. That’s why it’s no wonder it’s a cherished piece in the country music canon. Catch their romantic live performance of the song in the 1984 Showtime special titled A Star Spangled Country Party below.
Jessi Colter, Waylon Jennings