The Outlaws Waylon Inspired
As one of the main pioneers of the outlaw country movement, Waylon Jennings helped pave the way for dozens of artists who followed him. One of those artists was Hank Williams Jr., who was one of Waylon’s closest friends.
Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr, Waylon Jennings. pic.twitter.com/tl9aAOMVZN
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The two brought their star power together for the duet “The Conversation,” which had Waylon asking Hank Jr. questions about his father, Hank Williams. The song was a hit, and claimed the 15th spot on the Hot Country Songs chart and the 12th spot on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart.
After Waylon died in 2002, Hank Jr. was left without his role model and best friend. Since then, Hank Jr. has made it common practice to honor Waylon in any way that he can.
Keeping Hoss’ Legacy Alive
But Hank was already honoring Waylon years before he passed away. In 1995, Hank released a song dedicated to Waylon that was appropriately titled “Eyes of Waylon.” The song was included as a track on Hank Jr.’s album Hog Wild, which reached the 14th spot on the Billboard Country Albums chart.
Following Waylon’s death, Hank Jr. spoke to CMT about how “Eyes of Waylon” came to be. He explained that he wrote it on the first leg of a flight, and was finished by the time he landed to make his connection. As fate would have it, he ran into Waylon and his wife, Jessi Colter.
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Naturally, Hank Jr. decided to tell Waylon about the song he just wrote. Waylon was touched by the kind words his friend had to say about him. “We got to sit together and shoot the breeze — and I had a chance to show him the song I had just written that day,” Hank Jr. said. “I know he wouldn’t care me tellin’ he had tears in his eyes that day.”
The song is all about Hank Jr.’s admiration of Waylon and how much he accomplished with his career. As he sings, “Radio will play him until the end of time, because he’s a real legend not the phony kind.”
Getting Some Help From Famous Friends
As if “Eyes of Waylon” couldn’t get any better, Hank Jr. enlisted two famous friends to help him with it during an Opry appearance. Those two friends were Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart, who both consider Waylon to be a source of musical inspiration.
Travis played guitar and Marty played mandolin, while Hank Jr. was the one who sang. Their combined talents resulted in one of the best Waylon tributes we’ve ever heard. You can tune in below to check it out.
Thank goodness we have fellas like Hank Jr., Travis, and Marty to help carry on the legacy that Waylon left behind.