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by Norman Warwick

He was outlaw country, for sure, and I didn´t really want to deputised into any posse set to chase him. He had his rough and ready ways that pushed me away from his music a little bit but Waylon Jennings also released what I consider to be one of the finest country singles ever recorded.

The qualities of that song, Amanda, are evidenced by its writer being Bob McDill, (right) who  describes “Amanda” as an apology to his wife. He recalled being married to his wife at a young age with a struggling career.

As much as he wanted to get her the nice things, he couldn’t give her anything.but a song, and by it being a hit for both Don Williams and  Waylon Jennings, with the latter being my listening of choice. “Amanda” was first recorded and released as a single by country singer Don Williams (left)  in the summer of 1973 as the flip side of his No. 12 hit “Come Early Morning.” Williams’ version reached No. 33 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. A year later Waylon Jennings enjoyed a number 1 on Billboard with the same song.

Jennings´ contributions to the rise of “outlaw country,” a sub-genre that offered an alternative to the pop-centric sounds of the 1970s, cemented his place in history. He formed the genre’s first super-group, The Highwaymen, with Willie NelsonJohnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson in the 1980s. During his influential career, Jennings earned 16 No. 1 hits, released more than 40 studio albums, and received a rightfully earned induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Over two decades have passed now since the death of Waylon Jennings, but his impact on country music is more apparent than ever. This is evidenced by three excellent books focussed on his life and music, and I am grateful to Lorie Liebig writing recently in American Songwriter for recently reminding me of the following titles.

From a personal retrospective to reflections from his equally talented life partner, these three Jennings books offer a deeper look into his extraordinary life and career.

Waylon: Tales of My Outlaw Dad

Written with best-selling author David Thomas, this 2016 release from Jennings’ son, Terry, offers an alternative perspective on his father’s many career achievements and dark personal struggles. Waylon: Tales of My Outlaw Dad peels back the layers, giving an honest look at the beloved country star’s wins and missteps through the years. 

An Outlaw and a Lady: A Memoir of Music, Life with Waylon and The Faith That Brought Me Home

Although her contributions to the outlaw country movement are often overlooked, Jessi Colter was one of the era’s most important figures, becoming the only woman featured on the historic compilation Wanted: The Outlaws. In her captivating memoir, Colter looks back at those years, her marriage with Jennings, and the many ups and downs they encountered together.

phot cover Waylon: An Autobiography

If you’re looking for a first-hand account of Jennings’ journey from a burgeoning, polished rock and roll artist to a country music superstar, this 2009 memoir is an essential read. Waylon: An Autobiography recounts many of Jennings’ most difficult life chapters, from the loss of his close friend Buddy Holly to his struggles with addiction. It also serves as a tribute to Colter, who helped inspire him to improve his life.


The primary source for this piece was written for the print and on line media outlet, American Songwriter by Lorie Liebig. Other authors and titles have been attributed in our text wherever possible

Images employed have been taken from on line sites only where  categorised as  images free to use.

For a more comprehensive detail of our attribution policy see our for reference only post on 7th April 2023  entitled Aspirations And Attributions.

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