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RIP Billy Joe Shaver

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by 2muchcoffeeman, Oct 28, 2020.

  1. justgladtobehere

    justgladtobehere Well-Known Member

    Norm MacDonald is a big fan and friend of Billie Joe Shaver.

    From the full interview, Billy Joe didn't seem to care for Waylon Jennings after writing Honky Tonk Heroes for him.

    The greatest country album of all time. And the greatest album cover of all time.
  2. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Not sure it's a full life if you out-live a child.
  3. Tighthead

    Tighthead Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the semantic objection. I really learned a lot about Shaver from that insight.

    I’ll be more judicious in my use of words like full from here on out.
  4. Neutral Corner

    Neutral Corner Well-Known Member

    That's not quite how it happened, but it's a good story. Billy Joe played at the Dripping Springs Reunion in Texas in 1972, which was functionally the first Willie Nelson's Annual 4th of July Picnic and Brain Fry. Shaver played his set, and Waylon was there and coked completely out of his skull. He got with Billy Joe afterward and raved about his song "Willie, the Wandering Gypsy and Me", and said he was going to do a whole album of Billy Joe's songs... and then basically forgot about it. Billy Joe didn't, and proceeded to pester Waylon about it to the point that Waylon was actively ducking him. Finally Billy Joe showed up at one of Waylon's sessions and told him he had promised to do that album, and either he was going to at least listen to his songs or Billy Joe was gonna kick his ass then and there. He got curious about the guy and listened to some and wound up actually making a record with Shaver's songs. All but one song on that album was Billy's.

    I really can't speak to them falling out later.

    That stretch of Waylon albums through there in '72, '73, "Good Hearted Woman", "Lonesome, Ornery and Mean", "Ladies Love Outlaws", and "Honky Tonk Heroes", that's a real high quality run of work to be knocked out in just a couple of years.
    2muchcoffeeman likes this.
  5. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    Waylon was not a happy man at that point, and he and Shaver were both pretty cantankerous. Just to shut him up, Waylon told Shaver he’d record the aforementioned “Willy the Wandering Gypsy and Me” and said Shaver could play another of his songs and if Waylon liked that one he’d agree to record it and Shaver could play him another song, with the process repeating until Shaver (Jennings figured) played a song he didn’t like, and then Shaver would have to leave. Shaver played him “Ain’t No God In Mexico,” “Honky Tonk Heroes” and “Old Five And Dimers Like Me” and at that point Waylon decided he’d found a kindred spirit who’d brought him exactly the kind of music he’d been wanting to record. Seven of Shaver’s solo compositions ended up on Honky Tonk Heroes and Shaver was in mailbox money for a long damn time after that. They cowrote one other song (“You Ask Me To”) which spent about three months on whatever Billboard called its country singles charts back then.

    Here’s Shaver’s version of how it all happened:

    Chet Atkins didn’t want to release that album, but Waylon had redone his deal with RCA to wrest creative control away from Atkins and the Nashville machine because RCA was afraid they’d lose him to Atlantic Records. Finally came out in May 1973, and the rest is history …
    Neutral Corner likes this.
  6. Neutral Corner

    Neutral Corner Well-Known Member

    RCA was scared they'd lose him because Willie had gotten fed up and moved to Atlantic by that time, with control of the content of his albums. They would have, and they knew it, so they caved.
    2muchcoffeeman likes this.
  7. Neutral Corner

    Neutral Corner Well-Known Member

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