Legendary Country Singer-Songwriter Billy Joe Shaver Dies At 81

Oct 28, 2020

Singer and songwriter Billy Joe Shaver speaking with Flap Jones, host of KUAR's Not Necessarily Nashville, after a 2013 performance in Little Rock.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Country music singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver, who wrote some of the most memorable songs to emerge from the outlaw movement in the early 1970s, has died. He was 81.

The Associated Press reports that friend Connie Nelson confirmed Shaver died Wednesday following a stroke.

He was widely praised by his peers and his songs were recorded by heavyweights like Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Tom T. Hall. But he was perhaps best known for writing all but one of the songs featured on Waylon Jennings’ 1973 album “Honky Tonk Heroes.”

“When Waylon did ‘Honky Tonk Heroes’ and all those songs in the early 1970s, I couldn’t have possibly sang those songs as he could. The songs were bigger than my talent as a singer and I knew that, too,” Shaver told The Associated Press in 1993.

In recent decades Shaver typically performed a few times a year in Little Rock. Flap Jones, host of KUAR’s “Not Necessarily Nashville” spoke about Michael Hibblen about those shows. You can hear the interview above.