Honky Tonk Heroes

Album: Honky Tonk Heroes (1973)
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  • Nine of the 10 songs on the Honky Tonk Heroes album, including this one, were written by the Texas songwriter Billy Joe Shaver. Like Jennings, Shaver is a leading figure in the "Outlaw Country" movement, or as he calls it, "Outcast Country." In a 2010 Songfacts interview with Billy Joe Shaver, he told us: "We were a different bunch of people in from Texas, and we didn't dress up in white ties and things like that - just jeans - and it was different. But when we hit, everybody went our direction and the foundation got laid that was kind of outcast, but became a cornerstone of the whole mess. I say 'mess,' but the whole institution of Nashville, they were thankful after a while. They realized that it really helped more than it hurt. And a lot of things have been done on top of that now, and it's still rolling. I think it's a great thing."
  • Jennings was a rising star when he recorded this song, and it proved a big boost for Shaver, who wrote it. Said Shaver: "At the time, Waylon was just great, so great, and I knew something was gonna happen good for him, and sure enough it helped me and it helped him, too, and that's a pretty good trade.

    It's kind of a double-edged sword, though, because no one else ever recorded the songs, because they're afraid that Waylon would cut 'em. Those songs - that was the end of them. But then again, I think it was his first country album that went main seller."
  • Shaver wrote a book called Honky Tonk Hero where he detailed some of his past indiscretions, which his detractors used against him when he became Born Again. Said Shaver: "They used it like a bible, they went through it and just beat me half to death with my past. But that was another person. They just didn't understand how I could sit up there so innocent. And even after I'd done all those other things. But I wasn't on trial for those other things. God had forgiven me for all that. And you know when you go back to God and you get word about something that you asked him forgiveness for, and he's forgiven you? And you go back to Him and go and whine about it again, He ain't got a clue what you're talking about, or you're thinking about. Because He's already forgiven you."


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