1976 Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson – Good-Hearted Woman
Waylon Jennings got tired of discipline problems and left high school when he was only 16, intending to pursue a career in music. He soon worked as a dj and eventually began singing and playing guitar on live radio shows in several cities.
Buddy Holly arranged Waylon’s first recording session in 1958 and then hired him to play bass for his group. In 1959, Waylon was playing in Buddy’s group on tour and gave up his seat to J. P. Richardson on a flight between shows – the flight that crashed and killed Buddy.
Waylon formed a rockabilly group and began playing in a club in Arizona for a few years. He recorded for several record labels, but failed to chart.
Chet Atkins signed Waylon to a recording contract with RCA Records in 1965, and minor country hits followed for the next few years. A successful string of top ten country hits began in 1967.
In 1969, Waylon read an advertisement for a concert that promoted Tina Turner as a “Good hearted woman loving two-timing men,” a reference to her relationship with Ike Turner. He found Willie Nelson at a nearby poker game, pitched the line as the start for a possible song, and the two of them came up with lyrics that night. Waylon didn’t do anything with the song for a few years.
By the early seventies, Waylon had become fed-up with the way he was expected to look, dress, and sing, and wanted to change his style of music.
Waylon and Willie both signed with Neil Reshen as their new manager in 1971. Neil negotiated a new contract for Waylon with RCA that gave him creative control over his music, and Outlaw Country was born.
In 1972, Waylon was working on songs for a new album, and remembered his song about a good-hearted woman. He recorded the song, and the single became the title for the album. His solo version reached #3 on the Country chart in 1972.
Outlaw Country rapidly grew in popularity. In early 1975, Waylon’s semi-autobiographical recording of Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way topped the Country chart and reached #60 on the Hot 100. It was a bigger hit in Nashville.
In 1975, Waylon remixed his recording of A Good Hearted Woman. He added vocals by Willie and also added crowd noises to make the song sound live. The resulting single not only topped the Country chart, but it reached #25 on the Hot 100.
The hit single helped Waylon and Willie break into the mainstream, and each of them had additional hits on the Hot 100 over the next few years.
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