It’s pretty rare to find a cover that’s as good, or better than, the original.
And Waylon Jennings’ cover of “I Ain’t Living Long Like This” is a fantastic example of a song that he made completely his own.
On this date in 1980, he was at #1 on the country charts with his cover of the classic track. Originally written by Rodney Crowell, Gary Stewart first recorded it for his 1977 album Your Place or Mine, and Emmylou Harris also covered it for her 1978 album, Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town.
Waylon’s version became a massive #1 hit when he included it as a single on his 1979 album What Goes Around Comes Around, and plenty of country artists have covered the classic since then, often attributing their love for it to hearing Waylon’s version the first time.
So in honor of the day, I wanted to take a look back at some of the more recent covers from our favorite artists who each did covers that would make Waylon proud.
Chris and Morgane Stapleton sang it together back in 2015 at a Waylon Jenning’s tribute concert, and of course, it’s kickass:
Miranda Lambert performed it at a show in 2017 in New Braunfels, Texas:
Ryan Bingham sang it at a show in Houston in 2016:
Emmylou sang it with Rodney on Austin City Limits back in 2014:
Brooks & Dunn rocked it on the 2003 Waylon tribute album I’ve Always Been Crazy:
Margo Price sang it with Sturgill Simpson on the background vocals at the Ryman a couple years back:
And of course, check out the man himself singin’ it in Austin, Texas back in 1989: