From Willie to Johnny, here are 31 incredible photos from the unchained glory days of Outlaw Country.
Johnny Cash poses for a mugshot after U.S. Customs agents found hundreds of pep pills & tranquilizers in his luggage as he returned to El Paso, Texas from a trip to Juarez, Mexico in 1965. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings enjoy a drink together in New York. 1978.Richard E. Aaron/Redferns/Getty Images
Waylon Jennings poses with a pistol.YouTube
Johnny Paycheck holds a Teamsters union sign while joining a group of striking bookbinders. 1977.Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Charlie Daniels sits backstage with a bottle of booze at the Uptown Theater in Chicago, Illinois. 1978. Kirk West/Getty Images
Johnny Cash straddles railroad tracks, guitar in hand. 1969.Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Mugshot of Willie Nelson after he was arrested for speeding and driving without a license in Pasadena, Texas. 1960.Wikimedia Commons
Mugshot of Willie Nelson after he was arrested in 1974 by Dallas police for possession of marijuana.Wikimedia Commons
Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, and Rosalynn Carter at a reception preceding a concert to benefit the Carter-Mondale campaign in 1980Wikimedia Commons
Country singer Merle Haggard in a candid portrait taken in the early 1970s.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Johnny Cash chats with some of the inmates and guests during his visit to Cummins Prison in Arkansas. 1969.Bettmann/Getty Images
Waylon Jennings, drink in hand, goes in for a kiss. 1973.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Willie Nelson (left) and actor/comedian John Belushi hang out at the Lone Star Cafe in New York City after Nelson's first T.V. appearance on Saturday Night Live. 1977.Stephanie Chernikowski/Redferns/Getty Images
Mugshot of David Allan Coe before he served three years in the Ohio State Penitentiary. Ohio State Police Department
Hank Williams, Jr. sits at home with hunting trophies and a portrait showing him in Montana, where he almost died in a fall during a mountain climbing expedition. 1977.Bettmann/Getty Images
Singer Tanya Tucker in the late 1970s.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Charlie Daniels in Australia. Circa 1970.GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty Images
Pioneering rock and roller Buddy Holly and Waylon Jennings pose together in a photo booth. 1958.Personal photo
Waylon Jennings (center) enjoys pre-race festivities before an NASCAR race. 1972. ISC Images and Archives/Getty Images
Kris Kristofferson, as seen in a publicity photo. 1978.Wikimedia Commons
David Allen Coe speaks with several police officers. Date unspecified.David Allen Coe
Waylon Jennings performs on stage. Circa 1970. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Billy Joe Shaver stands outside near Wise Fool's Pub in Chicago, Illinois. 1980.Kirk West/Getty Images
Johnny Cash sits in the driver's seat of a Cadillac. Date unspecified.Wikimedia Commons
Sammi Smith performs on stage. Circa 1970s.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Johnny Paycheck (left) and Merle Haggard sit at the Countryside Opry in, Chicago, Illinois. 1980. Kirk West/Getty Images
Tompall Glaser poses for a portrait. 1977.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Kris Kristofferson poses with his guitar. 1970.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Billy Joe Shaver (left) poses at Wise Fool's Pub in Chicago, Illinois. 1980.Kirk West/Getty Images
Ed Bruce sits backstage at Phoenix in Chicago, Illinois. 1980.Kirk West/Getty Images
Willie Nelson takes a drink backstage. Date unspecified.Wally McNamee/Corbis/Getty Images
In the early 1970s, a new kind of country music burst onto the scene and began to change the face of popular music forever.
"Outlaw country" arose out of a frustration with the slick, stagnant, formulaic Nashville sound that had dominated country music for years.
Outlaw artists and listeners instead yearned for a kind of country music that was gritty and real, closer to their own authentic realities than to that of the rhinestone cowboys of the Nashville sound.
Soon, established country artists like Johnny Cash became icons of this new outlaw movement. Cash's live album At Folsom Prison, in particular, became the bible of the movement, thus inspiring more artists to adopt this new sound.
One such artist was Merle Haggard, an inmate at California's infamous San Quentin prison who was so inspired by Cash's New Year's 1959 performance there that he decided to become a musician. Haggard would go on to become one of the most famous musicians of the outlaw country movement.
Soon, the movement grew to include hard-hitting, raw musicians like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson. In 1985, these very men joined Cash to create The Highwaymen, the supergroup of the outlaw sound.
Though country music has evolved greatly since this era, outlaw country spawned an ethos that persists throughout the genre, and American pop culture as a whole, to this day.
After this look at outlaw country, see 28 Johnny Cash photos that reveal the man behind the icon. Then, check out some photos from when punk ruled New York City.