Music

'Luckenbach, Texas': The Story Behind the Waylon Jennings Hit That Made the Town a Must-Stop

NEW YORK - 1978: Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings enjoy a drink together in New York in 1978 (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

Waylon Jennings' 1977 hit "Luckenbach, Texas (Back To The Basics Of Love)" turned the ghost town from a Texas hideaway into a country music bucket list stop. You know, everybody's somebody in Luckenbach. No matter if you're grabbing a cold drink at the General Store, taking a picture at the Post Office, or getting ready for live music at the Dance Hall, this little paradise in the Texas Hill Country is where everyone goes back to the basics of love.

"Luckenbach, Texas (Back To The Basics Of Love)"

The classic country tune was written by Bobby Emmons and Chip Moman, Jennings' producer. Moman knew the best way to get Jennings to record a song was to tell him something along the lines of, "you can't have this song, but I want you to listen to it anyway!" Of course, Moman wasn't sure Jennings would want the song anyway because it mentioned the country star by name right in the chorus, along with other artists like Willie Nelson, Mickey Newberry and Jerry Jeff Walker.

Thankfully, Jennings didn't mind singing his own name and decided the song would be perfect for his next record Ol Waylon, the very first country record to advance sales of 500,000 units before the album was ever released and the first country record to debut in the No. 1 position on the Billboard country album chart.

The day Jennings was in Nashville recording, Willie Nelson dropped by unannounced, and Jennings asked him to lend his voice on the recording. Nelson recorded the last verse of the song and even added a few lyrical changes.

The song was released on April 16, 1977, and made Billboard history! It was the first single to debut in the top half of the country chart, coming in at No. 48. It eventually claimed the No. 1 spot just a few weeks later, on May 21, and spent six weeks there.

The Texas town is now a hub for country music fans. So, spend a day in Fredericksburg and a night in Luckenbach and feel just like Waylon, Willie and the boys!

"Luckenbach, Texas (Back To The Basics Of Love)" Lyrics:

The only two things in life that make it worth livin'
Is guitars that tune good and firm feelin' women
I don't need my name in the marquee lights
I got my song and I got you with me tonight
Maybe it's time we got back to the basics of love

Let's go to Luckenbach, Texas
With Waylon and Willie and the boys
This successful life we're livin'
Got us feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys
Between Hank Williams' pain songs and
Newbury's train songs and "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain"
Out in Luckenbach, Texas ain't nobody feelin' no pain

So baby, let's sell your diamond ring
Buy some boots and faded jeans and go away
This coat and tie is choking me
In your high society, you cry all day
We've been so busy keepin' up with the Jones
Four car garage and we're still building on
Maybe it's time we got back to the basics of love

Let's go to Luckenbach, Texas
With Waylon and Willie and the boys
This successful life we're livin' got us feudin'
Like the Hatfield and McCoys
Between Hank Williams' pain songs and
Newbury's train songs and "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain"
Out in Luckenbach, Texas ain't nobody feelin' no pain

Let's go to Luckenbach, Texas
Willie and Waylon and the boys
This successful life we're livin's got us feudin'
Like the Hatfield and McCoys
Between Hank Williams' pain songs
And Jerry Jeff's train songs and "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain"
Out in Luckenbach, Texas there ain't nobody feelin' no pain

You can find more information about Luckenbach at luckenbachtexas.com. Learn about the history of the town and Albert Luckenbach, see maps from Austin and San Antonio, read the story of Hondo Crouch, view past publications of the Luckenbach Moon, and take a look at the souvenir shop -- you'll show up to Luckenbach knowing all there is to know!

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'Luckenbach, Texas': The Story Behind the Waylon Jennings Hit That Made the Town a Must-Stop