Waylon Jennings relates the story of his life as a country music star. His beginnings were poor but he became Buddy Holly's protege before sinking into drug abuse and 3 failed marriages. His success came when he met his present wife, Jessi Colter.
As one of the original "outlaw" country music stars, Jennings (b. 1937) has done his best to live up to the image of the hard-living honky-tonker who doesn't take crap from anybody. With the help of writer and rock guitarist Kaye, an older, calmer, drug-free Jennings now relates his life story, from his childhood in a dirt-floored house in West Texas, through his busted marriages and hard-partying days, to his current existence as happily married man (to country star Jessi Colter) and member of the Highwaymen, the country music supergroup made up of Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. The narration reads as if Jennings is relating stories over a beer. There are wonderfully evocative accounts of playing bass for Buddy Holly on his last tour--Jennings gave up his seat on the plane that crashed, killing Holly and the Big Bopper--and of Jennings and Johnny Cash sharing an apartment in Nashville in the early '60s. There's a little more than most readers need to know about Jennings's money troubles, sex life, personal feuds and various drug habits, and there are a few too many testimonials from younger performers (e.g., Billy Ray Cyrus telling Jennings, "You're like a god to me"). As a raconteur, Jennings is by turns self-deprecating and self-indulgent, but never less than entertaining, and almost always charming. This soulful book should interest most anyone curious about the life of a pop musician, and is likely to be essential reading for country fans. A selected discography of Jennings's recordings is included. Photos not seen by PW.