Why Waylon Jennings Skipped His Country Music Hall Of Fame Induction

Why Waylon Jennings Skipped His Country Music Hall Of Fame Induction | Classic Country Music | Legendary Stories and Songs Videos

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Waylon Jennings said joining the Country Music Hall of Fame meant “absolutely nothing.”

Jennings addressed the issue during an interview with CMT News back in October 2001.

When 12 new members were inducted into the Hall of Fame at a special dinner on October 4, 2001, Jennings opted not to attend the event. Instead, he delegated the responsibility of accepting the honor to his son, Buddy Jennings.

“I let one of my sons go there and accept it,” he said. “I think it meant something to my kids, and that’s enough.”

Fellow inductee Sam Phillips, speaking at the banquet, expressed regret at Jennings’ absence.

“Waylon is like me, in many ways,” he said. “He is, in his own mind, a rebel with a cause…It don’t mean you’re mad at a d*mn soul, but now Waylon can get mad, you know?”

Jennings, of course, is widely recognized as one of the trailblazers of the country outlaw movement in the 1970s, leaving behind a legacy and music catalog that remains unparalleled and unmatched by any other artist.

Jennings’s music was characterized by his powerful rough-edged singing voice, phrasing, and texture. He was also recognized for his “spanky-twang” guitar style.

RELATED: Waylon Jennings Sings “Mental Revenge,” A Song Written By Mel Tillis

LOS ANGELES - JUNE 2: Country musician Waylon Jennings performs onstage wearing a cowboy hat with a Fender Telecaster electric guitar on June 2, 1983 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Waylon Jennings performs on June 2, 1983 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

The Texas native was known for doing things in his own way. In fact, he famously “stormed out” of the 1970 CMA Awards when producers, facing time constraints, proposed to shorten his performance.

Jennings and the Country Music Association, who is responsible for overseeing inductions into the Hall of Fame, have had a somewhat tense relationship over the years. Jennings consistently expressed his preference for playing music over accepting awards for it.

“They told me years ago I’d never be in [the Hall of Fame], which was all right with me,” Jennings expressed. “I think you need to play your music and do the best you can with that, and that’s what you’ll be remembered for.”

RELATED: LeAnn Rimes Pays Tribute To Waylon Jennings With “Good Hearted Woman”


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During the period surrounding his well-deserved induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001, Waylon did some interviews and bluntly expressed to CMT that he didn’t attach much importance to the honor. Many artists view it as a lifetime achievement, but Waylon stated that it meant “absolutely nothing, if you want to know the truth about it.”

In his autobiography, Jennings recounts being requested to perform a shortened rendition of his hit “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line” at a CMA Awards show.

“I said, ‘Why don’t I just dance across the stage and grin? Maybe do one line. That’ll give you a lot of time.’”

Show producers gave him an ultimatum — do the song their way or leave.

“They said, ‘We don’t need you,’” Jennings writes. “I decided that was true, and I left.”

Jennings mentioned that he wasn’t angry or bitter, but he did say he could’ve done without the honor if it hadn’t come his way.

Jennings, who stated, “I’ve had trouble with them [CMA] all through these years. I’m not a member of the CMA,” made it abundantly clear.

Watch him accept his CMA award for winning “Male Vocalist of the Year” in 1975, and you will see what we mean.

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