On This Day: Waylon Jennings’ ‘I’ve Always Been Crazy’ Was #1 on Country Album Charts in 1978

by Katie Maloney

Forty-two years ago today, Waylon Jennings’ album ‘I’ve Always Been Crazy” was still topping charts as #1 on the country albums list. The ultimate outlaw of country music was raw, gritty, and, of course, insanely talented.

Jennings always knew that he walked to the beat of his own drum or, at least, to the rhythm of his own style of country music. I’ve Always Been Crazy, pays tribute to those differences as Jennings unapologetically sings about his true self – flaws and all. The album reached the top of the Billboard Top Country Albums making this his fourth number one album. Along with covers of both Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line,” and Merle Haggard’s “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down,” the album includes two love ballads – which was uncharacteristic of Jennings. Additionally, the album features a song by the same name, “I’ve Always Been Crazy.” The song spent 13 weeks on the charts peaking at number one.

During the song, Jennings sings “I’ve always been different with one foot over the line. Winding up somewhere one step ahead or behind. It ain’t been so easy but I guess I shouldn’t complain. I’ve always been crazy but it’s kept me from going insane.”

Waylon Jennings’ “I’ve Always Been Crazy”

Waylon Jennings Faced Drug Charges a Week Before The Album’s Release

Beginning in the 1970s, Jennings started to top the charts with music that was heavy on both guitar and attitude. His musical style as well as his image helped define the “outlaw” era of country music. One week before the release of the album, Jennings was charged with drug possession after police learned he was sent a package containing cocaine. However, the charges were dropped after police were unable to prove that Jennings had the drugs in his possession. Rumors say that Jenning’s drummer, Richie Albright, flushed the cocaine down the toilet before police could find it. Regardless of what actually happened, some say the controversy helped boost record sales.

Ironically, one of Jennings’s number one songs from I’ve Always Been Crazy is “Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit Has Done Got Out Of Hand.” During the song, he sings about his outlaw image and how “what started as a joke” quickly gets out of hand. He sings, “They came pounding through the back door in the middle of the song. They got me for possession of something that was gone, long gone. Don’t you think this outlaw bit has done got out of hand?”