Waylon Jennings + We Had It All

by

Riley Johnson

Updated

January 15, 2024

Updated

January 15, 2024

Updated

January 15, 2024

The country music artist Waylon Jennings had a reputation for his gritty baritone that embodied the outlaw side of the genre. But more than his rich voice and his unmistakable twang, what really hooked listeners was his soulful delivery. And one of the Waylon Jennings’s songs that exuded that was “We Had It All” from his 1973 album Honky Tonk Heroes

Meaning Behind The Song

“We Had It All,” released on May 26, 1973, was written by Troy Seals and Donnie Fritts and produced by Waylon Jennings himself under RCA. As many fans called it, this underrated hit of his was one of the saddest and most beautiful songs he ever recorded. 

Like most of his songs, it had no lush orchestrations. It was stripped down to its core, his hauntingly soulful vocals bleeding through as he sang about love that had been lost and the pain, knowing he could never get it that good again.

The song opened with a melancholic memory of the wind blowing through the Georgia pines as he called on to his love and how she answered when he did. “You and me / We had it all,” he painfully crooned. Then he went down memory lane of how he used to touch his hair, her smile, and how she was the best thing that ever came into his life. His life was so good when he was her man. 

RELATED: Tunes of Tears: 35 of the Saddest Country Songs for a Good Cry

However, he knew that he could never go back to that time, so he let his dreams take him back – over and over again. At the end of the day, even when she didn’t stay, it was all worthwhile. 

After he sang his last line, the instrumental took over, with him quietly humming in the background. Then, as it slowly faded, you could still feel his pain lingering. That’s why no one could – or would, for that matter – argue that he was one of the best vocalists of his generation. He knew how to deliver the raw emotions. 

Before you immerse into Waylon Jennings’s “We Had It All” in the video below, make sure you have tissue prepared. You’ll definitely be crying your eyes out. 


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