I’m gonna live forever
I’m gonna cross that river
I’m gonna catch tomorrow now
Songwriters: Eddy, Billy Joe Shaver
Billy Joe Shaver Crossed that river today after suffering a massive stroke yesterday. Shaver was 81 years old. Texas has lost yet another songwriting legend.
Some have said that Shaver was one of the greatest living country songwriters. His song “Live Forever” was written by him and his son Eddy Shaver. John Edwin “Eddy” Shaver crossed his river on December 31, 2000. The song was recorded by them twice. Once, on the 1993 album Tramp On Your Street and again in 1998 on the album Victory.
The song was also performed by The Highwaymen and Joe Ely. Robert Duvall performs it in the movie Crazy Heart.
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
Nobody here will ever find me
But I’ll always be around
Just like the songs I leave behind me
I’m gonna live forever now
These are just a glimpse of the words Shaver turned into song.
Billy Joe Shaver may be gone in the flesh, but as I believe as did he, Shaver isn’t gone for good. Shaver wasn’t afraid to talk about his faith and beliefs of the afterlife.
Shaver found religion after his son Eddy had died. One of his favorite sayings was, “If you don’t love Jesus, you can go to hell.”
He even recorded a gospel album in 2007 called Everybody’s Brother that featured duets with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Tanya Tucker.
The songs that Shaver left behind are treasures for us all to enjoy in this earthy life. I am sure he is up there in Heaven now singing with the angels.
Billy Joe Shaver was born in Corsicana, Texas August 16, 1939. He was mostly raised by his grandmother while his mother, Victory Watson Shaver, worked in nearby Waco, Texas. Shaver left school in the eighth grade in order to help his uncles pick cotton.
Shaver on occasion would accompany his mother to her job at a night club in Waco called the Green Gables. Shaver penned the song, “Honky Tonk Heros” about these experiences at the Green Gables.
Billy Joe Shaver spent a stint in the Navy, enlisting at the age of 17. After completing his military duties, He worked a series of odd jobs. Billy Joe had an accident at a saw-mill which caused him to lose two of his fingers off of his left hand. It was then, when he taught himself to play guitar and had dreams of becoming a songwriter. Shaver told CMT in 2012, that he had made a deal with God.
“When I cut my fingers off, I made a deal with God, If You get me out of this, I will go on and do what I am supposed to do.’”Billy Joe Shaver
Hitch hiking his way to Nashville, Billy Joe found work as a songwriter for fifty dollars a week.
Shaver’s big break came when Waylon Jennings recorded the album, Honky Tonk Heros in 1973. All but one song on the entire album was written by Billy Joe Shaver.
Waylon, having once heard Billy Joe Shaver perform, “Willy The Wandering Gypsy and Me” had told him he would like to record it.
Enlisting the help of radio deejay, Captain Midnight, Billy Joe tracked Waylon down. Waylon, who was bothered by the intrusion of this, gave Midnight a hundred-dollar bill, just to have Billy Joe Shaver “Go Away.” Shaver wouldn’t take NO for an answer.
Billy Joe finally got a chance to speak to Waylon, who he recalled at the time, had two big bikers with him.
I’ll tell you what I want … If you don’t listen to these songs, at least listen to them, I’m going to whip your ass right here in front of God and everybody.”Billy Joe Shaver
Waylon decided he had better listen to one, then another. In his biography Waylon told:
His songs were of a piece, and the only way you could ever understand Billy Joe was to hear his whole body of work.Waylon Jennings
Billy Joe talked the way a modern cowboy would speak, if he stepped out of the West and lived today.Waylon Jennings
Shaver secured his own record deal, and continued writing and performing his music. His songs were recorded by many including Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, and Patty Loveless. He enjoyed wide appreciation from his peers.
Billy Joe Shaver continued his music until the very end. He received numerous awards and accolades along the way. He performed on the Grand Ole Opry in 1999. In 2006, Shaver was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2019, Shaver received the Poet’s Award from the Academy of Country Music.
Remember Someone really loves you
We’ll live forever you and I