On This Day: Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter Tied the Knot in 1969

by Clayton Edwards
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When people talk about iconic country music couples two really stand out. Johnny & June and Tim & Faith usually top the list. However, let’s take a moment to focus on Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. They were the couple in Outlaw Country. But they weren’t just partners in Holy Matrimony. Waylon and Jessi also teamed up in the studio to cut timeless songs. They tied the knot in an Arizona church with Jessi’s mother serving as the minister fifty-two years ago today.

Waylon Jennings and Jessie Colter stayed together until Waylon passed away in 2002. Their 33-year-long marriage produced one child, Shooter Jennings, and a wealth of inspiration for the rest of us. For example, Waylon and Jessi had both been married before. In fact, Hoss tied the knot three times before getting it right with Jessi.

Waylon Jennings told Rolling Stone about his and Jessi’s relationship back in 1973. “When I met Jessi, I was pretty well at my lowest point,” he told the publication. “I weighed 138 pounds, and I was bent on self-destruction. Wallerin’ in self-pity was the biggest part of it,” Jennings recalled. He went on to say that he stayed depressed and stoned all the time before meeting Colter. One of the most touching parts of that section of the interview, though, is how he described her impact on him. “Jess was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter’s Love and Music

Jessi Colter probably saved Waylon Jennings’ life. At the same time, he helped to boost her career. Waylon helped Jessi get a deal with RCA, according to Wide Open Country. Colter dropped her debut album A Country Star is Born in April of 1970. Waylon and Chet Atkins produced the record. Colter wrote most of the songs on the record. Additionally, the newlyweds cut a duet, “I Ain’t the One,” for the record. Unfortunately, it didn’t do well. However, it’s a solid record that’s worth checking out.

“Suspicious Minds” is by far Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter’s most successful collaboration. They dropped the single in 1970 and it reached number 25 on the Billboard country singles chart. Additionally, it earned them a Grammy nomination. Then, RCA re-released it in 1976 and included it on Wanted! The Outlaws. At that point, it hit number two on the chart.

For fans of Waylon Jennings, it is important to note that Honky Tonk Heroes dropped in 1973. That’s the album that saw Waylon fully embracing Outlaw Country. Additionally, it’s arguably the album that made him the face of the Outlaw movement. There’s a chance that the love of a good woman is what gave him the drive to put himself out there like that.

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