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Did You Know Waylon Jennings Got His Start as a Radio DJ?

Waylon Jennings
Rusty Russell, Getty Images

When someone mentions Waylon Jennings, you probably envision him on stage, guitar in hand, singing and playing one of his 16 number one hits. You might also think of him as one of the original outlaws of country music — bucking the Nashville establishment and paving his own way. That’s not the way it always was, though.

No, Waylon Jennings actually did what I do. He was behind the mic, in a studio, spinning records as a radio DJ. Ok, so we don’t “spin” records anymore, but you get the point. It’s true — Waylon Jennings got his start in the music industry as a radio DJ.

CMT says Waylon started working as a DJ when he was just 12 years old. He would end up honing the craft at a variety of stations in a number of states.

One of those radio jobs ended with Waylon getting fired, according to Wikipedia. During the final two hours of his six-hour shift that featured two hours of classic country, two hours of current country, and a couple hours of mixed recordings, Waylon pushed his luck too far. He liked and would play Chuck Berry and Little Richard on the show. Each time he did, the station’s owner would scold him. One night, Waylon played two in a row from Little Richard and was fired for it. Once an outlaw, always an outlaw. Lucky for Waylon, a successful career in music awaited.

Waylon Jennings passed away in February of 2002. He was only 64.

You can hear legends like Waylon each Sunday morning from 7 to 9 on 98.1 KHAK during Rick Jackson’s Country Classics.

[Information courtesy of CMT and Wikipedia]

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