Music

FLASHBACK: The Highwaymen Earn Their First No. 1 in 1985

On Aug. 17, 1985, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash’s supergroup, The Highwaymen, earned its first and only No. 1 hit.

“Highwayman” hit the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and marked a pivotal moment in the careers for these four distinct and legendary artists.

READ MORE: Merle Haggard Reveals Why He Never Joined The Highwaymen

The track was penned by country songwriter Jimmy Webb and tells the story of a man’s soul that’s reincarnated from a highwayman into a a sailor, a dam builder and the captain of a “starship” in the future. The song was originally recorded by Webb and was then later cut by Glen Campbell in 1979.

The Highwaymen’s version of the track earned the group a Grammy for Best Country Song in 1986. However, The Highwaymen likely would not have cut the now-famous song if Marty Stuart hadn’t given them a helpful nudge in the right direction.

While they were both visiting Switzerland for a tv performance, Stuart brought up the song to Cash. Stuart felt “Highwayman” was perfect for the then-unnamed group. After that, Cash considered the track and decided to name the collaborative project after the song. Stuart ended up playing guitar on the studio version of the track that is now known as The Highwaymen’s most recognizable song.

Fans will never be able to see these four take the stage together again, as both Jennings and Cash have died. Still, today marks the perfect time to remember these four legends and enjoy the beautiful music they made together. Watch the video above to hear “Highwayman” and take a musical trip back in time.

recommended for you

FLASHBACK: The Highwaymen Earn Their First No. 1 in 1985