“I Ain’t Living Long Like This”
Written by Rodney Crowell
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
February 22, 1980
#1 (1 week)
March 1, 1980
Waylon Jennings may have been the fourth artist to record “I Ain’t Living Long Like This,” but it fits him so perfectly that you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a Waylon original.
Like “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight,” this track also appeared on the Emmylou Harris album, Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town. Before Harris recorded it, it was released by Gary Stewart, and songwriter Rodney Crowell also featured it on his debut album.
It’s Jennings that can claim the definitive version, and that shouldn’t be surprising. Jennings was living out the lyrics at the time he recorded it, struggling with a cocaine addiction that nearly killed him. There’s such a melancholy that he brings to the table here, as if he’s resigned to the inevitable: either he’s going to stop, or he’s going to die. Either way, he ain’t living long like this.
The power of television helped make his other No. 1 single from 1980 linger far longer in the collective memory, but this is the better of his two chart-toppers this year. We’re in the era where all the artists with exceptional taste were raiding Rodney Crowell’s catalog, and we’ll see another one of his early songs atop the charts soon enough.
“I Ain’t Living Long Like This” gets an A.
Previous: Barbara Mandrell, “Years” |