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Honky Tonk Heroes

Waylon Jennings

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Disillusioned by the rules and restrictions of Nashville, Waylon Jennings renegotiated his contract with RCA in 1972 and returned to his Texas roots with 1973’s Honky Tonk Heroes. Nine of the album’s ten songs were written by Billy Joe Shaver, a drifter-turned-songwriter from Corsicana, Texas. Shaver’s songs expounded a hard-bitten attitude that was a perfect match for Jennings’ voice and persona. As stated in verse from the title track, most of these songs follow “lovable losers, no-account boozers and honky-tonk heroes” like Shaver and Jennings. Entirely produced and conceived by Jennings, the album was a breakthrough in country music. It was the first time an artist took complete control of his creative process and demanded the same freedom labels were already giving rock bands. You can hear the sense of triumph in the music. The tunes are tough but naturalistic, and though he had summoned many ineffable grooves under the tutelage of Chet Atkins, Waylon leads this band into a patented brand of rustic swing that hits the spot like a second round on Saturday night.

Customer Reviews

Great album

A great Waylon album if not his best. Him and Billy Joe Shaver were a good team and on this album they both shined. The devil made me listen to it the first time. The second time I done it on my own.

A place to start with Waylon

I have always liked Waylon Jennings, but not being a country music fan, I never really had many of his records. With the advent of I Tunes I wound up getting some of his greatest hits records, and those are great, as they have songs like Lukenbach Texas, Hank Never Done It .. . and so on. But I will say that this album was an absolute revelation. It blows away any greatest hits compilation. It talks about going down to Mexico, dancing, and interracial lovemaking (apparently it got Ol Waylon banned in the 1970's). This is a record that I can't recommend enough, and would suggest starting here before moving onto the greatest hits compilations.

The pinnacle achievement of Country

Waylon and Billy Joe Shaver together created an album that changed country music for the better, unfortunately mainstream country has reverted back to pop


Born: June 15, 1937 in Littlefield, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

If any one performer personified the outlaw country movement of the '70s, it was Waylon Jennings. Though he had been a professional musician since the late '50s, it wasn't until the '70s that Waylon, with his imposing baritone and stripped-down, updated honky tonk, became a superstar. Jennings rejected the conventions of Nashville, refusing to record with the industry's legions of studio musicians and insisting that his music never resemble the string-laden, pop-inflected sounds that were coming...
Full Bio