Songwriting legend and prominent figure of the outlaw country movement, the great Billy Joe Shaver, has passed away today at the age of 81. He suffered a stoke at Ascension Providence Hospital in Waco, Texas.
Shaver’s songs have been recorded by everybody from Bobby Bare and Johnny Paycheck, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash, to Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. In fact, Waylon’s Honky Tonk Heroes record was almost completely written by Shaver. He also penned the song “Live Forever” which was performed by Robert Duvall in the incredible film Crazy Heart, starring Jeff Bridges.
An outlaw through and through, Shaver was famously arrested in 2007 after shooting a man. As the story goes, a bar confrontation led to a man following Shaver out to the parking lot with a knife, however Shaver pulled a gun and allegedly asked “where do you want it?” before he pulled the trigger. He was found not guilty and acquitted after pleading self-defense. Dale Watson later wrote a song about the incident called “Where Do You Want It,” which was also recorded by Whitey Morgan.
The impact Billy Joe Shaver has had on the country music community is immeasurable.