And when you turn on your local contemporary country radio station, it certainly poses the question, “Are yousureHankdone it this way ?” It’s ironic that when Waylon released his 1975 chart-topping homage to Hank Williams, “Are YouSureHankDone it This Way, ” he was bemoaning the contemporary country artists of that time who were wearing “rhinestone suits” and driving “new shiny cars.” Just a year prior to the song’s release, pop star Olivia Newton-John had taken home the CMA’s Female Vocalist of the Year trophy.
Then in 1975, John Denver, who had previously established residency on the adult contemporary chart, crossed over to win the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year prize. Pop-infused country was once again punctuating the charts as it had in the 1960s and ’70s when Eddy Arnold and Ray Price, and then later Tammy Lynette and Glen Campbell, were making their ascent to the stars, and Waylon wasn’t having it.
He kept his arrangements jangly and ready for a turn around the hardwoods or tipping back a cold bottle of Shiner. He was just 64 years old, but his time on earth was well spent developing his signature sound and applying it to hits like “Only Father That’ll Walk the Line,” “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Life),” the Bob McGill hit recently resurrected by Chris Staple ton, “Amanda,” as well as the theme song from the “Dukes of Hazard,” “Good Of’ Boys.” Waylon was also committed to building relationships with fellow outlaw performers like Willie, Johnny and Kris, that would produce songs like “Good Hearted Woman,” “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and The Highwaymen’s “Highwayman,” all of which are now staples in the American country songbook.
Country Music, Season 1, Episode 7, is available to watch and stream on PBS. I strongly dislike modern country, but I love Waylon.