Wanted: The Outlaws Revitalizes Country Music (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: The release of Wanted: The Outlaws in early 1976 brought mainstream recognition to a brand of country music at once more progressive and more authentically rooted than the Nashville norm.
Summary of Event
With the January, 1976, release of the album Wanted: The Outlaws on RCA Records, the talents of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson became nationally recognized. The album went platinum, selling more than one million copies--a first for a country album. The record crossed over to the pop charts and reached number ten on the Billboard magazine chart, the music industry’s standard reference. A new breed of “progressive” or “outlaw” country music had arrived, and the corporate music industry in country music’s capital had to take notice. It did; dollars and sales spoke, and things were never quite the same again.
In part, the album represented a music industry co-optation of a movement within country music that had been gestating for quite some time. Most immediately obvious to country music buyers was the fact that all the cuts on the album were reissues. Wanted: The Outlaws, in fact, was a promotional and public-relations package meant to capitalize on the ferment within country music circles and in the Nashville scene itself.
The album’s tracks included Jennings’ “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” and “Honky Tonk Heroes,”...
(The entire section is 1954 words.)
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