On February 3, 1959, Waylon Jennings was due to fly on a chartered plane to Moorhead, Minnesota, along with his boss, Buddy Holly. He had joined Holly’s band late in 1958, and Holly was helping him become a solo artist, financing Jennings’ first records. Holly was touring with Richie Valens and the Big Bopper in early ‘59, and they were playing 24 cities in three weeks by bus. Everyone started catching the flu, and Holly got sick of barnstorming by bus. So he chartered a plane. Jennings had a seat on said plane. Right before take off, he gave up his seat to the Big Bopper, because he had a cold, and Waylon was a standup dude who helped out people like that.
I had forgotten that Waylon was the famed near-miss of the Day the Music Died, and when I remembered that while listening to this record, it’s hard not to think about that brush with death, and its effect on Waylon’s life. Can you imagine what that must have been like? To know you could have been dead if you were less polite? That the Big Bopper would have lived longer. There’s almost no way it didn’t turn Waylon into the Devil May Care guy he became. Why not get loaded, smoke pot, and record Outlaw country? You almost died. There’s no more time for bullshit, and Waylon didn’t waste his time on any his whole career. It’s something I think I want to aspire to. Not giving a single fuck ever, like Waylon Jennings.