HOUSTON – Some of the most distinctive hair in American music is up for sale with Willie Nelson’s trademark braids heading to the auction block, where they are expected to fetch between $50,000 to $60,000.
The braids were cut in the 1980s when Nelson’s hair was still red and will be sold on Oct. 5 in an auction of items owned by the late Waylon Jennings, Nelson’s cohort in the “outlaw country” music movement of the 1970s, said Arlan Ettinger, president of the Guernsey’s auction house, which will conduct the sale.
Jennings was given Nelson’s braids at a 1983 party thrown by Johnny Cash and June Carter in his honor after Nelson cut his hair to celebrate of Jennings’ recent sobriety.
“In the spirit of friendship that lived between these two ‘brothers of the road,’ Willie light-heartedly congratulated Waylon with his redheaded braids,” said Jessi Colter, Jennings’ former wife.
The Remembering Waylon auction also will feature a pair of cowboy boots originally made for Hank Williams and an Ariel Cyclone motorcycle that music great Buddy Holly bought in 1958. The motorcycle was given to Jennings as a birthday present by members of Holly’s band after Holly was killed in a small plane crash.
Jennings was supposed to have been on the doomed flight but gave up his seat to singer J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson.
Another item up for auction is the original contract forming the country supergroup The Highwaymen, signed in August 1989 by Jennings, Nelson, Cash and Kris Kristofferson. It is expected to bring in $80,000 to $100,000.
Jennings, who had a cocaine addiction for several years, died in 2002 at age 64 of complications of diabetes. His hit songs included “Ladies Love Outlaws,” “Are You Ready for the Country,” “Bob Wills Is Still the King,” “Luckenbach, Texas” and duets with Nelson “Good Hearted Woman” and “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”