49 Years Ago: Waylon Jennings’ ‘I’m a Ramblin’ Man’ Hits No. 1
Forty-nine years ago today (Sept. 28, 1974) was an important day for Waylon Jennings: It was on that date that his single "I'm a Ramblin' Man," from his The Ramblin' Man album, soared to the top of the charts.
"I'm a Ramblin' Man," which became Jennings' second No. 1 hit, was written by Ray Pennington, who released the song on his own for Capitol Records in 1967. But it was Jennings who made the song a success, singing the lines such as "I've been down to Mississippi / Down through New Orleans / Yes, I have / I've played in California / There ain't too much I haven't seen / No, there ain't / Lord, I'm a ramblin' man / Don't fool around with a ramblin' man" with such an authentic, believable voice that it became one of his signature songs.
Jennings produced his entire The Ramblin' Man album, which also included the follow-up single, "Rainy Day Woman." The Texan included "I'm a Ramblin' Man" on his Waylon Live album in 1976, his Greatest Hits album in 1979 and his Never Say Die album in 2000. It was also included on a posthumous release, Ultimate Waylon Jennings, in 2004.
This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski.