12 Facts We Just Learned About The Stars Of Outlaw Country

List Rules
Vote up the facts that are worthy of true outlaws.

Outlaw country is a little hard to define by what it is, what it has come to be known by, and what it is not. Outlaw country is not the Nashville sound; it is one of those things that you'll just know it when you hear it. It's more than music; it's a lifestyle embodied by the outlaw spirit of musicians who bucked the Nashville norms and popular sounds of the time to focus on the sounds that rang true to them, whether rooted in honky-tonk, gospel, the blues, or what have you. 

This country genre came out in the 1970s and '80s and was solidified with the release of Wanted! The Outlaws, which featured Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser. The movement continues with new artists, but the music of those pioneers continues to inspire new generations to this day.


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    613 VOTES

    Willie Nelson Smoked Weed With Jimmy Carter’s Son On The White House Roof

    Willie Nelson is as famous for his music as for his public love of cannabis. Rumors followed the red-headed stranger for years that he had partaken in his favorite herb on the roof of the White House. Willie confirmed the rumor in his 1988 autobiography, but wouldn't snitch on who had joined him.

    Finally, in a 2015 GQ interview, Willie alluded that it could have been Jimmy Carter's son, Chip, up there on the roof. The interviewer followed up the admission by contacting Chip, who laughed and confirmed it was him.

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    587 VOTES

    Merle Haggard Was A 20-Year-Old Inmate At Johnny Cash's San Quentin Prison Concert

    Johnny Cash was known as an outlaw hero, an image he cultivated through a series of prison concerts. His most well-known may be his concert in Folsom Prison in 1968, immortalized in the biopic Walk The Line. But it was at a 1958 concert in San Quentin that a then 20-year-old Merle Haggard saw Cash perform, which Haggard credits with setting him on his own path to country music superstardom. Haggard served two years out of a 15-year sentence for burglary.

  • Kris Kristofferson Landed A Helicopter In Johnny Cash's Yard To Hand-Deliver His Demo
    Photo: Magna Artists / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
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    706 VOTES

    Kris Kristofferson Landed A Helicopter In Johnny Cash's Yard To Hand-Deliver His Demo

    In 1969, the Oxford graduate, Rhodes Scholar, former U.S. Army captain, and helicopter pilot Kris Kristofferson was working as a janitor in Columbia Records' offices in Nashville, trying to break into the music business as a songwriter. He befriended June Carter Cash and occasionally snuck his demos into her purse, hoping she would find them and listen to them, perhaps sharing them with her husband Johnny. 

    Kristofferson was sure his song "Sunday Morning Coming Down" was the one to convince people of his ability, so during a routine Army Reserve helicopter flight training mission, Kristofferson veered off course, landing on Cash's lawn to hand-deliver the demo. In a TV appearance the next week, Cash said, "Here's a song written by Kris Kristofferson. Don't forget that name."

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    598 VOTES

    Snoop Dogg Has Said Willie Nelson Is The Only Person Who Could Out-Smoke Him

    In 2008, Snoop Dogg released a country-style rap, "My Medicine," which featured Willie Nelson. Snoop had asked Nelson to be on the single and Nelson invited the rap legend to join him in Amsterdam, where he was preparing to perform on April 20. The two stars became fast friends and Snoop has proclaimed in interviews and on Twitter that Nelson has him beat in the smoke game.

  • Waylon Jennings Gave Up His Seat On The Flight That Killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, And The Big Bopper
    Photo: RCA Records / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
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    516 VOTES

    Waylon Jennings Gave Up His Seat On The Flight That Killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, And The Big Bopper

    February 3, 1959 is known as the day the music died. That's when a small charter plane crashed, killing Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson (known as The Big Bopper), Ritchie Valens, and the plane's pilot. Waylon Jennings had been hired by Holly to play bass for him on the tour.

    Jennings decided to take the bus and gave his seat on the plane to Richardson, who was suffering from the flu. After Jennings told Holly he was taking the bus, Holly jokingly said he hoped the bus broke down. Jennings replied, “I hope your ol’ plane crashes.”

  • David Allan Coe Has Lived In A Hearse And A Cave
    Photo: David Allan Coe / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
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    392 VOTES

    David Allan Coe Has Lived In A Hearse And A Cave

    David Allan Coe is one of the more eccentric characters of the outlaw country scene, bestowing upon himself the nickname "The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy." Coe found trouble at a young age and cycled through various correctional facilities early in life. But once he set his sights on a music career, his focus was singular.

    He parked his car in front of the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry, and lived there for a while. His car happened to be a hearse at the time. Later, after the IRS repossessed his home in Key West, FL, Coe claims he lived in a cave in Tennessee.