Billy Joe Shaver, “Live Forever”

Many consider Billy Joe Shaver one of the greatest living country songwriters, but you likely won’t find his name in parentheses under any country artist’s name on the charts these days. Since the word “country” is open to constantly-changing interpretation, it’s more accurate to characterize the Texas native as part of the 1970s “outlaw country” movement, a genre he’s one of the pioneers of. Now in his late 70s, Billy Joe’s still out there, writing and recording and playing to a small-but-loyal following, performing favorites like “Live Forever.”

A song of love and the afterlife that contains veiled references to his Christian faith, “Live Forever” was written by Billy Joe and his late son, guitarist Eddy Shaver, during the time that the two performed together simply as Shaver. They recorded the song twice, on the 1993 album Tramp On Your Street and again on the 1998 album Victory. The lyric is notable for what seem like biblical allusions, not surprising given Billy Joe’s many statements about his faith and his born-again status. For instance, while he doesn’t explicitly mention the apocalyptic events of the Book of Revelation, he references the end of the earth as we know it, and eternal life, in the last verse:

When this old world has blown asunder And all the stars from fall this sky Remember someone really loves you We'll live forever you and I

The lyric was written by Billy Joe, who told National Public Radio in 2014 that the music had come first, courtesy of his son, who died of a drug overdose in 2000. “[Eddy] actually gave me that melody, and I carried it around for nearly a... Sign In to Keep Reading

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