3 Songs You Didn’t Know Waylon Jennings Wrote For Other Artists

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Waylon Jennings ushered in a new sound to Nashville’s Music Row—one that imbued a more hard-edged, rock sound than ever before and zeroed in on the shadier sides of life. The patron saint of the Outlaw Movement, Jennings had his fair share of hits before his death in 2002.

Alongside crafting timeless tracks for himself and his fellow Highwaymen, Jennings lent a few songs to other artists, including Porter Wagoner, Buddy Holly, and Barbara Mandrell. Find out what songs Jennings had a hand in, below.

1. “Julie,” Porter Wagoner

Written by Waylon Jennings

Porter Wagoner released this Jennings-penned track in 1967. “Julie” is a classic, off-kilter revenge country song. Right on par with Jennings’ outlaw mystique, the lyrics tell the story of a man plotting the murder of his wife (the titular Julie) and her lover before taking his own life. Wagoner’s version is enticing enough but the lyrics feel a bit more natural coming from Jennings, who recorded his own version of the song a year later—though the lyrics differ slightly between the two versions.

Each time she’d hurt me made me love her more
I couldn’t sleep until Julie got home last night she came in but wasn’t alone
The things that I heard I could hardly believe
As her and the stranger made plans to leave

Without my Julie why I just couldn’t live
And this is one thing I know I could never forgive
So I wait with a pistol the bullets just three one for the stranger Julie and me
One for the stranger Julie and me

2. “You’re The One,” Buddy Holly

Written by Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Ray Corbin

Jennings co-wrote “You’re The One” alongside Ray Corbin and Buddy Holly—the latter of which went on to record the track. The song, released with “Love’s Made A Fool Of You” as the B-side, is quintessential rockabilly, as per Holly’s usual.

Holly arranged one of Jennings’ first recording sessions while he was still an emerging musician before eventually hiring him to be a part of his band. That tenure was then, of course, ended after an ill-fated plane crash killed Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Richie Valens.

A-you’re the one that’s a-causing my blues
You’re the one I don’t want to lose
You’re the one that I’d always choose
You’re the one that’s a-meant for me

A-you’re the one that I’m thinking of
You’re the one that I’ll always love
You’re the one sent from heaven above
You’re the one that’s a-meant for me

3. “Angels Love Bad Men,” Barbara Mandrell

Written by Waylon Jennings, Roger Murrah

Jennings and the rest of The Highwaymen members—Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson —recorded “Angels Love Bad Men” in 1990, but before they lent their voices to the song, Barbara Mandrell shared a lilting version of her own. Mandrell’s duet version with Jennings was released in 1987 on her album, Sure Feels Good. Jennings also penned the album’s opener, “Just to Satisfy You.”

When his stolen gold has turned to rust,
He rides off in a cloud of dust,
Lookin’ for a border he can cross.
She’ll stand by and watch him go,
Wonderin’ if he’ll ever know,
The hurt she’s feelin’ now, and what they’ve lost.

Angels love bad men. That’s how it’s always been.
They give their whole hearts when they fall.
Angels love bad men. That’s how it’s always been.
Love holds their hearts against the wall.

Photo by Beth Gwinn/Getty Images

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