On This Day: Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings Released ‘Wanted! The Outlaws’ 45 Years Ago

by Madison Miller

When you think of Outlaw Country, artists like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson are sure to come to mind. In fact, the album that introduced the term “Outlaw Country” is celebrating its 45th birthday today. It is a compilation album called, “Wanted! The Outlaws.”

Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings are always proving to be one of the most powerful duos in country music history.

The two also released a duet album together in 1978 called “Waylon & Willie.” The album would sit peacefully at the top of the U.S. country charts for 10 weeks. It features hit songs like “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” “It’s Not Supposed to Be That Way,” “I Can Get Off on You,” and “A Couple More Years.”

The two also sang Nelson’s song, “Good Hearted Woman” together and Jennings “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” as well as countless other iconic moments throughout their careers.

Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, ‘Wanted: The Outlaws’

Today 45 years ago, the dynamic country compadres teamed up to release “Wanted: The Outlaws.”

The album was platinum certified for selling one million albums. It was the first official platinum album in country music. The album also featured Jessi Colter and went double platinum in 1985.

The album, however, wasn’t the most original effort from Jennings and Nelson. Instead, it featured previous efforts from each singer. Tompall Glaser had two songs on the album and Jessi Colter was featured as well. Even using other artists’ songs, it was still a country music hit with how the two put their own spin on each tune.

The single from Waylon Jennings and Colter, “Suspicious Minds” and Jennings’ duet with Nelson, “Good Hearted Woman,” were the driving factors of the album’s success on the charts.

The album was an upbeat representation of outlaw life. However, the starting track for the album is “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” which is a more downbeat song. It reflects on the loneliness and sadness that can come from being a hardcore cowboy. There is also a Western drama film with the same name from 1991.

“It was an oddly downbeat way to start an album, but it seemed to sum up the frontier loneliness that often came hand-in-hand with our ideas of rugged individualism,” Waylon Jennings wrote in his autobiography, “Waylon: An Autobiography.”

H/T: Taste of Country