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Waylon: An Autobiography Hardcover – September 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books, Inc.; First Edition edition (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446518654
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446518659
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A country music star tells of his poor childhood and rise to stardom.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
48
4 star
18
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See all 70 customer reviews
A great read for any Waylon Jennings or country music fan.
Dean Olson
A recurring thread that connects the various parts of Waylon's life is his belief that artists are entitled to do things their own way at least one time.
D. C.
This is a great book which tells the complete life of Waylon Jennings.
J. Lee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mad Dog on June 23, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
This book is as colorful as Waylon's best songs, with an earthy reality that you can smell, taste and feel in your gut. He didn't have an easy life and the contrast between the good times and the hard times is evident. The straightforward yet discriptive writing makes it easy to feel you were there when it happened. But it's never easy to bring about change, which is what his life has been all about. Some may think he brags too much but the truth is he has plenty to be proud of. I bought the book because I wanted to see how he described his time with Buddy Holly and the evolution of outlaw country and found it to be interesting, illuminating and at times, surprising. Along the way, I gained a whole new level of respect for Jessi and was reminded again how important it is for a man to have a strong woman.
It seems that all autobiographies drag at one point or another but that's just a minor issue here. If I could, I'd give this 4 and 1/2 stars, only because I'm stingy with my 5 star recommendations. My guess is that, if you like the man's music, you'll enjoy reading his story.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By duke66@iserv.net on March 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Waylon Jennings recorded an album in 1987, which he referred to as an "audiobiography". The album was "A Man Called Hoss", and it was, according to Waylon, "The story of my life, before somebody gets it wrong". It was a good idea, and a fine album. But "Waylon: An Autobiography" really gets the job done.
Waylon's fans have always known about his rich sense of humor and storytelling abilities. These are reflected amply through his music. This book, co-written by Lenny Kaye, reveals his inner depth, as well. His friendships, loves, heartbreaks, addictions and many triumphs. The greatest triumph of Waylon's life is arguably his long and loving marriage to Jessi Colter. Colter, a successful recording artist in her own right, wrote one of Waylon's biggest hits, "Storms Never Last". And Waylon should know. He's weathered many a storm, with the help of his friends, his family, and his soulmate, Jessi. Read the book, and hear it all in WAYLON's words.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Teresa Bassham on May 25, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you read only one book in your life, you HAVE to read this one. I read it several years ago and just recently read it again. I've read a lot of biographies, and this one is the most sincere and most entertaining one yet. This book shows just how much today's country singers should thank their lucky stars that Waylon Jennings EVER came along. You can tell how very much he loved Jessi and his kids. READ IT!!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kerry O. Burns VINE VOICE on September 20, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Waylon Jennings gave up his seat to Richie Valens in that fateful plane crash that claimed the lives of Valens, Buddy Holly and the big Bopper. It would not be the last time he skirted death. A fact filled and story filled book that reads like a Waylon Jennings song filled with bravado, heart and longing. One of the original "outlaws" of country music Waylon was above all else his own man and along with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson formed the legendary "Highwaymen". This temperamental artist tells of his many travails with his personal demons and the love of his life, Jessi Colter. Good stuff.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J.L. Populist on January 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Waylon Jennings' autobiography stretches from his birth to 1996.
Mr. Jennings shares his childhood memories of a large family living in humble, small houses. Like a lot of country music stars of that era, he came from a poor family.
He wrote about some of his heroes of country music- Hank Williams, Sr. and Ernest Tubbs.

Most everyone that knows who Waylon Jennings was is familiar with his connection to Buddy Holly. Waylon doesn't disappoint the readers that are curious to read about life on the road with Buddy Holly. If not for Buddy Holly and his confidence in a young Waylon Jennings, he may not have the singing career later.

Another area of interest was Waylon's career as a disc jockey.

He doesn't gloss over the wide-spread use of pills in Nashville and his personal use of drugs during his career.

This book also details some of Waylon Jennings' experiences with the record labels and other management types in Nashville and on the road. He got ripped off like a lot of other music artists.

It was interesting to read Waylon's take on the difference between playing in a studio vs. playing live in a honky-tonk and his preference for playing live.

He shared his view of the "Nashville Sound" and the CMA.
On the Nashville Sound he wrote this on page 176-
"Nashville was just too insular, too caught up in itself."
The reader gets a first-hand glimpse at why Mr. Jennings became a part of "Outlaw Country".

Some of his shared experiences with his contemporaries were very humorous.
Overall, this is a good autobiography of a true country rebel who played a part in changing country music and the monumental role his wife Jessi played in his overcoming years of drug addiction.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By STEPHEN T. McCARTHY on September 26, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have an eclectic taste in music, but a person could count on 4 fingers and 2 thumbs how many Country-Western performers I really enjoy. I'd put OL' WAYLON on the forefinger. If his name is on your forefinger too, then you are sure to find the AUTOBIOGRAPHY of WAYLON JENNINGS worthwhile.

WAYLON reveals his life story here in great detail. It is an extensive journey from his cotton-pickin' youth, to his struggling honky-tonk musical beginnings, to his lowdown dirty daze at the top of the Country charts & the bottom of his drug addiction, and finally to his mellowed state as a blissfully married man and the grandpappy of Outlaw Music.

What I most appreciated was the informal, grammatically-incorrect, down-home conversational style of the writing. I suspect that Lenny Kaye did little more than insert proper punctuation and maybe prod the old cowboy from time to time.

The book is sure to appeal to anyone who wants a peek at the behind-the-scenes maneuvering in the Nashville Country Music world of the 1960s & '70s. It also paints a picture of the last days of BUDDY HOLLY and Waylon's association with the Rock legend shortly before the unfortunate airplane crash that took his life. It is therefore, a must-read for any hardcore HOLLY fans.

Being a religious man, I didn't care for the profanity which seemed unnecessary, and especially the taking of The Lord's Name in vain (which always affects me like fingernails on a chalkboard.) But, hey, it IS Waylon being Waylon.

The story is in turn raunchy, touching, and (as anyone who ever saw Waylon perform live would guess) QUITE FUNNY! One minute he's full O'himself, reveling in his old-tyme bravado, and the next minute he's got you laughing out loud with some self-deprecating observation.
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