Seemingly small decisions sometimes last a lifetime. Waylon Jennings had been hired to play bass for his friend Buddy Holly for his tour during early 1959. The weather was freezing and the tour bus had little heat so after their February 2nd concert at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly rented a small plane to fly him and two other musicians to their next concert. Waylon Jennings paid for a seat but at the last minute gave it to The Big Bopper who was not feeling well. In the early morning hours of February 3rd the plane crashed shortly after take-off killing everyone on board. Jennings would live another 43 years, sell millions of albums, and be inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2003.
Waylon Jennings is best remembered today for being a part of the outlaw movement in country music. He was one of the first country artists to grow his hair long, get rid of the traditional suit and tie look, and record outside the Nashville mainstream. He, along with such artists as Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, David Alan Coe, and future wife of 33 years Jesse Colter, would change the perception and style of country music. They built on the traditions of the fifties and sixties and through their images and music, modernized country music and made it relevant to new generations of fans in the seventies and eighties.
His career and popularity were established during the mid to late sixties which were well before his outlaw days. He produced one album in early 1964 for a small independent label but two years later was signed to the giant RCA label where he would achieve stardom as a traditional country artist. All of his albums for the label would reach the upper regions of the country charts and produce dozens of hit singles.