A country music icon, he passed away in 2002 after suffering from complications due to his diabetes.
And two years prior to that in 2000, he played his last major concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and captured it all for a concert film/album, Never Say Die: The Final Concert.
During that set, he included a cover of what he says was one of his favorite songs, “Drift Away”.
The song was originally written in 1970 by Mentor Williams and recorded by John Henry Kurtz for his 1972 album Reunion. Of course, it was made most famous by Dobie Gray, when it peaked at #5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1973. Uncle Kracker released a cover in 2003, featuring Dobie Gray, and it went on to become one of the biggest songs of the year.
But back to Waylon…
With the Waymore Blues Band assisting, it’s a kickass performance by a country music legend.
Knowing that Waylon started out in rock and roll playing bass for Buddy Holly makes it even more special, and Waylon knew just how much everybody went crazy over the guitar part in the song, saying:
“Back in the ’70s, this song came out. And the song was a great song, and old Dobie Gray did a great job singin’ it, but the thing everybody flipped over was the guitar part in there.
I’m gonna try to sing it, if anybody screws up, it’s gonna be me and it’s gonna be his fault. This has remained one of my favorite songs, so I’ll do the best I can, okay?”
I mean, just sitting there with that hat and blues glasses on like there’s nothin’ to it, making it look completely effortless… I could listen to Waylon sing this song all damn day: