“You been to school, you say you are a lawyer, you walked out of a magazine. I've been a drifter and a low-life loser, you can learn a lot from me.” ― Billy Joe Shaver
The fact that Billy Joe Shaver is not a household name when the topic of country music comes up, is no real surprise. While he is considered by many to be one of the greatest songwriters in the genre of all time, his personal notoriety and success as an individual artist was not so much mainstream. However, the man lived his songs and was a true outlaw. Let’s take a look at some facts that make this late outlaw a Featured Alpha
- Born in Corsicana, Texas in 1939.
- Raised by a single mother.
- Moved to Waco as his mother needed work and found it inside honky tonk clubs.
- Shaver eventually found himself in Houston where he befriended Townes Van Zandt
- His friendship with Van Zandt led him to Nashville where he began a songwriting career.
- Received his first big break writing for Kris Kristofferson.
- He famously threatened to beat Waylon Jennings if he did not listen to his songs.
- Jennings ended up recording many of Shaver’s songs.
- Drove his car through a car dealership while high. Considered “unmanageable” by execs.
- Tragically lost his soulmate to cancer and his son to a heroin overdose.
- Considered taking revenge against his son’s dealer but talked out of it by Willie Nelson.
- In 2007, was in an altercation at a bar and shot a man in the face with a .22.
- Shaver was acquitted of the shooting based on a self-defense argument.
- His famous songs include: “Georgia on a Fast Train,” “Live Forever,” “Honky Tonk Heroes,” and “Old Five and Dimers Like Me.”
- Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings all recorded his songs.
- Shaver passed away October 28, 2020 at the age of 81.
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