Country Throwback: Chris Stapleton Nails Waylon Jennings ‘I Ain’t Living Long Like This’ on 2017 TV Special

by Emily Morgan

As a way to honor the late, great Waylon Jennings, Chris Stapleton performed a touching rendition of “I Ain’t Living Long Like This.”

In July 2015, country music’s biggest stars came together in Austin, Texas, to pay tribute to one of the genre’s greatest legends.

Thankfully, CMT turned the footage into a TV special, which aired on April 7, 2017. 

In addition to Stapleton, other country music’s greats, such as Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, and Kacey Musgraves, also performed in his honor. 

Before becoming a megastar in the country music industry, Stapleton was nearing his big break at the time of the tribute show. 

That summer, Stapleton was still somewhat unknown to most country fans. Months after filming, all that would change following his show-stopping performance at the 2015 CMAs that catapulted him to stardom. 

Stapleton’s performance during the Jennings tribute makes it no mystery why he’s now one of the biggest stars in the country music world. 

Stapleton chose to honor Jennings with his rendition of the major hit “I Ain’t Living Long Like This,” which was Jennings’ 11th No. 1 on the country music charts.

Chris Stapleton Puts Own Spin On Classic County Hit

However, it wasn’t Jennings who recorded the song first; Emmylou Harris was the first to lay down the track in 1978. The following year, Jennings released his version, persuading other artists to record their covers.

Over the past few decades, “I Ain’t Living Long Like This” has been covered by country artists everywhere, from Brooks & Dunn to Justin Moore.

However, it comes as no surprise that Stapelton’s cover is undoubtedly one of the best. 

During his performance, he incorporated his signature gruff voice paired with an enthusiastic passion for honoring one of his heroes. As a result, he delivered one stellar performance. 

Fans should also applaud Chris Stapleton’s backing band for their work during the performance. They kept the exciting pace going throughout the song, especially during the instrumental solos.