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Sunday Morning Country Classic Spotlight to Feature Waylon Jennings

Rusty Russell, Getty Images

Join me at 11 a.m. November 10th for the Sunday Morning Country Classic Spotlight featuring Waylon Jennings.  The Country Classic Show kicks off at 9 a.m.

Waylon was born on June 15, 1937.  His career went from poverty in West Texas to teenage bassist for Buddy Holly to Nashville rebel to outlaw star to cocaine addict to redemption.

That journey has consistently been a theme of his music and life.  He left his hometown of Littlefield, Texas to work in radio in Lubbock, Texas.  He worked at several stations as a DJ.  His big break came when he was tapped by Buddy Holly to play bass in Holly’s band that was touring the Midwest for the  “Winter Dance Party Tour” in late 1958 and early 1959.

In an often told tale, Waylon gave up his airplane seat to the Big Bopper, J.P. Richardson for an ill fated flight that would claim the lives of Buddy Holly, the Bopper and Ritchie Valens.  It took Jennings many years to get over that tragedy.  That day in 1959 in a corn field in Iowa became known as the day the music died.

He went to Arizona to work in radio and worked in local clubs, where Bobby Bare discovered him and gave a boost to his career.  Then it was off to Nashville where Waylon and Johnny Cash became roommates.  Their reputations as hell raisers soon became cemented in time.

Waylon starred in the 1966 movie, “Nashville Rebel.”  Sadly he was soon spending $1500 a day on a cocaine habit that eroded his career.  He finally got clean thanks to his wife Jessi Colter.

Between 1966 and 1995 Jennings recorded 54 albums with 11 reaching number one.  From 1965 to 1991, he released 96 singles with 16 becoming number ones.

His health had been deteriorating for years before his death. He passed February 13, 2002 in his sleep from diabetic complications.

It’s a Sunday Morning Country Classic Spotlight Extra.  A half hour of Waylon from 11 a.m. to 11:30.

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