Waylon Jennings, 1987 (Associated Press/Mark Humphrey)
Waylon Jennings first made music in a recording studio in 1958 thanks to help from Buddy Holly, who hired Jennings to play bass for the "Winter Dance Party Tour" in 1959. The ill-fated tour ended with a plane crash that claimed the lives of Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, who took Jennings' seat on the doomed flight. Jennings went on to work as a radio disc jockey before forming his own band, the Waylors. He eventually found success in the 1970s as part of the "Outlaw Country" movement and as the balladeer for The Dukes of Hazzard. We remember Jennings' remarkable life today and the lives of other notable people who died on this day in history.
2012: Lillian Bassman, U.S. fashion photographer whose photos were featured for many years in Harper's Bazaar, dies at 94.
2012: Freddie Solomon, U.S. NFL wide receiver who won two Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, dies at 59.
During his stint in San Francisco, Solomon also ran for 329 yards and three touchdowns as an important member of late Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh's West Coast offense. "There was no one who gave more on and off the field than Freddie," Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana said. "The kindness he demonstrated was inspirational to all that knew him, and a joy to be around. The warmth of his smile will be forever embedded in my mind and heart. ..." Read more
2007: Charlie Norwood, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia from 1995 until 2007, dies at 65.
A feisty, tobacco-chewing conservative who loved to hunt and who railed against government bureaucracy, Norwood was part of the Republican wave that took control of Congress in 1994. He came out of nowhere to beat Democratic incumbent Don Johnson, becoming the first Republican to represent that northeastern Georgia district since shortly after the Civil War. Read more
2005: Dick Weber, U.S. professional bowler who was one of the pioneers of the sport and one of the most popular players, dies at 75.
Weber, a skinny right-hander, was a postal worker in Indianapolis with a growing reputation as a top bowler when he was lured to St. Louis in 1955 to bowl with a famous local team, the Budweisers. The team's record of 3,858 pins in one match stood for more than three decades. After the Professional Bowlers Association was formed in 1958, Weber became the national bowler of the year in 1961, 1963 and 1965. Read more
2003: Kid Gavilan, Cuban boxer who was the World Welterweight champion from 1951 until 1954, dies at 77.
2002: Waylon Jennings, U.S. country music star and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, dies at 64.
The Nashville establishment liked to use their own studio musicians – Jennings preferred his band, the Waylors. The Nashville Sound relied on lots of syrupy strings and crooning vocals – Jennings liked a rougher sound with more traditional country-music instrumentation. And the big-label heads liked a certain sameness to the music they put out, playing to the masses – Jennings sought artistic freedom, to create the music that he liked. Read more
1996: Martin Balsam, U.S. actor who won an Academy Award for his role in A Thousand Clowns, dies at 76.
1990: Ken Lynch, U.S. actor who appeared in more than 180 movie and TV roles and played Sgt. Grover on McCloud, dies at 79.
1983: Marian Nixon, U.S. actress who had the starring role in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, dies at 78.
1980: David Janssen, U.S. actor who was well-known for his role as Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive, dies of a heart attack at 48.
1976: Lily Pons, U.S. operatic soprano who was also an actress, dies at 77.
1968: Mae Marsh, U.S. actress who was a silent-film star and had a major role in Birth of a Nation, dies at 73.
1965: Jerry Burke, U.S. pianist for The Lawrence Welk Show, dies at 53.
1960: Delmar G. Roos, U.S. automotive designer who co-created the military jeep, dies at 71.
1958: Dame Christabel Pankhurst, leading English suffragette who was known as "Queen of the Mob," dies at 77.
1883: Wilhelm Richard Wagner, German composer who is primarily known for his operas, dies at 69.