Waylon Jennings

Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way

Composed by Waylon Jennings

Song Review by

Although Waylon Jennings specialized in interpreting other writers' songs, he still penned a number of country classics, like "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way." "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way," though released before the height of outlaw madness, works as an anthem for every performer and listener who detested the Nashville establishment in the '70s and crossover artists like Barbara Mandrell. It was time to get back to the real country music of spiritual forefathers like Hank Williams, Jennings believed, and strip away everything ("rhinestone suits and new shiny cars") nonessential. What raises "Are You Sure Hank Did It This Way" above the typical self-referential song, though, is Jennings' humor. Sure, he wants to follow Hank, but he's not so sure about "speeding my young life away" on the road (Williams died on the road courtesy of lots of hard living). One thing that makes the song somewhat difficult to interpret is that it's not always clear who's repeating the refrain, "Are you sure Hank done it this way?" Jennings, in fact, would receive his fair share of criticism for long hair and drugs that ran counter to traditional country values (short hair and hard liquor). In this light, it's easy to imagine the Nashville establishment trying to remind the young rebel to honor his forefathers (Williams at least had short hair and wore a cowboy hat). Either way, though, Jennings was committed to living Williams' legacy in every way save dying young. Interestingly, "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" has only two chords and no chorus. It's success musically, then, has more to do with the drive of the phase shifter-fueled guitar and the steady thump of the drum than melody. "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" reached number one on the Country Singles chart in 1975.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Dreaming My Dreams 1975 BMG / Sony Music / Sony Music Entertainment
Are You Ready for the Country 1976 BMG
The Hits of Waylon Jennings 1977 RCA
Greatest Hits [RCA] 1979 BMG / BMG / Sony Music
No Image 1985 RCA Victor
Collector's Series 1991 RCA 2:54
Contemporary Country: The Mid '70s 1992
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line: The RCA Years 1993 RCA 2:55
Outlaws of Country [Lifetimes] 1995
Various Artists
Life Times & Music 2:54
The Essential Waylon Jennings [RCA] 1996 RCA 2:55
No Image 1996
Various Artists
RCA 2:53
Kickin' Country 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:58
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution / Sony BMG 2:56
No Image 1998
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:52
Classic Country: 1969-1975 1999
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:57
Ramblin' Man/This Time/Dreaming My Dreams 2001 BMG International 2:55
Legendary 2001 BMG
Honky Tonk Heroes/Ramblin' Man/Dreaming My Dreams 2001 Buddha Records 2:56
RCA Country Legends 2001 Buddha Records 2:56
Legends 2002 BMG 2:56
Best of Waylon Jennings: Original Hits 2002 Paradiso 2:57
Real 70's Country [Disc 2] 2003
Various Artists
BMG 2:54
The Very Best of Country [Nascente] 2004
Various Artists
Ultimate Waylon Jennings 2004 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution
The Best of the 70s, Disc 3 [BMG] 2004
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:54
16 Biggest Hits [2005] 2005 Legacy / RCA Nashville / Sony Legacy 2:55
Drinkin' and Dreamin' 2005 Rex 2:56
The Kings and Queens of Country [Sony] 2005
Various Artists
Sony BMG 2:53
Live from Austin TX, 1989 2006 New West
In Concert 2006 Immortal
Nashville Rebel [Box Set] 2006 RCA
Classic Country: Outlaws 2006
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:57
The Essential Waylon Jennings [RCA Nashville/Legacy] 2007 Legacy / RCA 2:55
The Very Best of Outlaw Country 2008
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 2:58
Rock On [Ace] 2008
Various Artists
Ace 2:52
Live from Austin TX: Austin City Limits '84 2008 New West 2:54
Crazy Heart [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 2010
Original Soundtrack
New West 2:55
Setlist: The Very Best of Waylon Jennings Live 2011 Legacy / RCA / RCA Nashville 2:45
Live! At the US Festival 1983 2012 Shout! Factory 3:03
Truckers, Kickers, Cowboys Angels: The Blissed-Out Birth of Country-Rock , Vol. 7: 1974 2015
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:56
American Heartland: Legends of Country
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:55
Country: Waylon Jennings BMG / Sony Music Entertainment 2:56
Men of Country 2016
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:53
Nashville Rebel Legacy / RCA 3:41
Super Hits, Vol. 2 BMG / BMG / Sony Music / Sony Music Entertainment
Turn Back the Years:  Live in Dallas, '75 Hotspur 2:31
Turn Back the Years: Radio Broadcast 1977 Laser Media 2:50
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