Artists Salute Waylon Jennings

Artists are paying tribute to Waylon Jennings, who died Wednesday at the age of 64 from diabetes-related health problems. "Waylon Jennings was an American archetype, the bad guy with a big heart," sai

Artists are paying tribute to Waylon Jennings, who died Wednesday at the age of 64 from diabetes-related health problems. "Waylon Jennings was an American archetype, the bad guy with a big heart," said Kris Kristofferson, who sang with Jennings in the Highwaymen along with Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. Singer George Jones called Jennings' death a "great loss for country music."

"I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Waylon Jennings," guitar legend Chuck Berry said. "Although we came from far different backgrounds, I have always enjoyed his music. I thought his lyrics were very poetic and I consider him a brother songwriter." Jennings "had a voice and a way with a song like no one else," said Emmylou Harris, adding, "he was also a class act as an artist and a man."

Funeral arrangements will be kept private. But in a statement, Jennings' wife Jessi Colter said, "I know how very much people loved Waylon and want to pay their final respects, therefore we will be planning a memorial service to take place in Nashville and those plans will be forthcoming."

"Waylon kicked ass right to the end and ruled the roost right up to the last minute -- it always took all of us to try to figure out just what he wanted next and how to do it exactly the way he wanted it done," she added. "Waylon always did things his way and even won the final battle because he got to die his way -- at home and in his sleep."

The artist traditionally wore a black cowboy hat and ebony attire that accented his black beard and mustache. Often reclusive when not on stage, he played earthy music with a spirited, hard edge. He often refused to attend music awards shows on the grounds that performers shouldn't compete against each other. He didn't show up at his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame last year.

"Whenever country music got a little too impressed with itself, Waylon was there to let them know what the music's roots were. He was very uncompromising about that," said Lenny Kaye, a guitarist with the Patti Smith Group who helped Jennings write his 1996 autobiography.

Fans wishing to send condolences to Jennings' family may write 1117 17th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37212, or post them online at waylon.com.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y. & AP



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