Billy Joe Shaver, Legendary Outlaw Country Songwriter, Has Died at The Age of 81
Billy Joe Shaver was born August 16th, 1939 in Corsicana, TX. He died Wednesday (October 28th) in Waco, Texas, after suffering a stroke. He was 81. He served his country, joining the U.S. Navy on his seventeenth birthday. After being discharged, he was employed at a lumber mill, where his right hand got caught in the machinery, and he lost parts of two fingers. After recovering he taught himself to play the guitar without those missing fingers.
Eventually Shaver made his way to Nashville, where he found a job as a songwriter for $50 per week. It wasn't long that his work caught the attention of Waylon Jennings, who filled most of his album Honky Tonk Heroes with Shaver’s songs.
Soon after Elvis Presley and Kris Kristofferson also recorded Shaver’s music. Thus one of the most legendary country music careers was born.
A few of Shaver’s classics include: “Honky Tonk Heroes,” “Georgia on a Fast Train,” “Old Five and Dimers Like Me” and “Live Forever.”
In 2006, Shaver was inducted in the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. He was later honored by the Americana Music Convention with their Lifetime Achievement Award in Songwriting. He currently lives in Waco, TX.
Shaver released his 23rd and final album, Long in the Tooth, in 2014. The album featured guest appearances by Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, and Tony Joe White.
RIP Billy Joe.