Country singer-songwriter Jamey Johnson made his debut back in 2005. Since then, he has provided country music with one top-notch song after another.
Johnson is equally accomplished as a singer and songwriter. In addition to writing his own material, Johnson has penned songs for some of the brightest stars in country music. As a result of his many talents, Johnson has earned the unwavering respect of artists, critics, and fans alike.
When it comes down to it, Johnson’s accomplishments make him one of the biggest badasses in all of country music. Head on down below to discover six times we feel that Johnson proved why he is worthy of such a title!
1. When He Served His Country
After two years in college, Johnson decided to quit and enlist in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. He served for a total of eight years, and eventually obtained the rank of corporal.
Johnson enjoyed playing music for those who served alongside him in the Marines. His passion for music continued after he was done serving, as did his ties to the military. Today, Johnson continues to maintain contact with some of the people he served with in the Marines.
2. When He Covered Lynyrd Skynyrd Like A Pro
On November 12, 2014, Southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd brought in some of their famous friends for one rockin’ night of music. Johnson was one of the artists there that night, and he delivered a riveting performance of Skynyrd’s song “Four Walls of Raiford.”
“Four Walls of Raiford” was written by Skynyrd’s late lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and Jeff Carlisi, but wasn’t released until 1987 on the posthumous compilation album, Legend. The song has become a fan-favorite since then, and Johnson certainly did it justice with his cover.
3. When He Brought Country Legends Together To Honor Another
In 2012, Johnson decided to pay tribute to the late country songwriter Hank Cochran, who passed away in 2010. Cochran was responsible for writing some of the most memorable hits in country music history, including Patsy Cline‘s “I Fall to Pieces.”
As a show of just how much respect Johnson’s peers have for him, he was able to enlist the help of multiple country music legends for his tribute album, which he titled Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran. Just a few of the major names who provided guest vocals on the album included Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, and Kris Kristofferson.
The album generated great praise, and was nominated for Best Country Album at the 55th Grammy Awards.
4. When He Wrote A #1 Hit For Country Music’s ‘King’
Johnson is responsible for writing some of the biggest hits to grace country radio in recent years. One of those songs was “Give It Away,” which Johnson co-wrote with Bill Anderson and Buddy Cannon.
“Give It Away” was recorded by “The King of Country,” George Strait. The song became Strait’s 51st number one on the Billboard country chart, and broke a record in the process, as it established him as the artist with the most number ones on that chart.
In addition to “Give it Away,” Johnson has penned many big hits for Trace Adkins. Those songs include “I Got My Game On,” “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” and the chart-topping hit “Ladies Love Country Boys.”
5. When He Joined Fellow ‘Outlaws’ To Honor Waylon
If you had to put a label on Johnson’s musical style, he could probably be categorized as a country music “outlaw.” In earlier years, this title belonged to country legends such as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Waylon Jennings.
There are fewer outlaws around these days, but some artists, such as Hank Williams Jr. and Johnson still fall under that category. So imagine how badass it was when the two of them joined Waylon’s son Shooter for a full-out tribute in his honor! As you would expect, it was pretty epic.
6. When He Sold Over A Million Copies Of One Song
Out of all of his songs, Johnson’s 2008 single “In Color” is the most well-known. The song reached the ninth spot on the Hot Country Songs chart and also snagged the 52nd spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
In addition to its chart success, “In Color” was nominated for a handful of notable awards, including Best Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song at the 51st Grammy Awards. While it didn’t win in either of those categories, it did earn Johnson the trophy for Song of the Year at the 2009 ACM Awards.
As of February 2016, “In Color” has sold over 1.3 million copies. Now that’s pretty badass, wouldn’t you say so?