Singer/Songwriter Billy Joe Shaver Dead at 81

Singer/Songwriter Billy Joe Shaver Dead at 81

Singer/songwriter Billy Joe Shaver, 81, one of the architects of country’s Outlaw Movement of the 1970s, died on Oct. 28, following an illness.

In addition to releasing more than 20 albums, Billy Joe’s songs were recorded by a who’s who of artists, including Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, the Allman Brothers, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and many more. Some of his most well-known songs include “Old Five and Dimers Like Me,” “I’ve Been to Georgia on a Fast Train,” “Ride Me Down Easy,” “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Some Day),” and “Live Forever.”

The Texas native was honored with the first Americana Music Award for Lifetime Achievement in Songwriting in 2002, and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

Led by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, the Outlaw Movement of the 1970s was a musical revolt against the so-called Nashville Sound, the polished country/pop fusion created to lure listeners back to country music in the late ’50s when rock came rolling along. Artists like Kris Kristofferson, Jessi Colter, Jerry Jeff Walker, David Allan Coe, Tom T. Hall, Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Tompall Glaser and more looked to liberate country music by asserting their own creative independence and influence.

photo by Gaas, AFF-USA.com

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