1983 was the year of 'Pancho and Lefty'.

Two of country music's biggest legends, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, teamed up to sing and bring the song to the top of the chart and it's now considered on of the greatest songs in country music history.

 

 

Both Willie and Merle are legendary songwriters, having penned some of the biggest hits country music has ever known.  So which one wrote this great classic?

Neither.

The song was written by a guy named Townes Van Zandt.

So who is Townes van Zandt?

Well, a tremendously talented and tremendously troubled singer/songwriter.  He came out of the state of Texas and also wrote the great hits 'If I Needed You' and 'No Place To Fall' along with others.

Townes was troubled his entire adult life, by drug addiction and alcoholism.  When young, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and suffered from long-term memory loss.

And yet, he was an exceptional songwriter.  He never became famous for singing his own songs and spent much of his time 'touring' the bars and honky-tonks of Texas, where he is a Lone Star State legend.

Townes Van Zandt died January 1st, 1997 at the age of 52.  The cause of death was listed officially as 'cardiac arrhythmia'.  No doubt, years of dug use (including heroin) contributed to his early death.

A tortured talent?  Perhaps.  But certainly a talent.