Neil Reshen, Former Manager of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, Dead at 75
Reshen was an important tool in the careers of both Jennings and Nelson, as he assisted monetarily while allowing the legends to record the music they chose. Nelson and Reshen first joined forces for the singer's 1975 album 'Red Headed Stranger,' which was also his first No. 1.
Jennings was grateful to know Reshen, admitting in his autobiography that without him, he didn't know where their careers would have gone. "There was a time when Neil fed me and Willie, and if it hadn’t been for him, I don’t know what we would have done,” Jennings wrote in ‘Waylon: An Autobiography’ (quote via the New York Times). "He helped us immeasurably. He got things for us that no country singer had ever gotten before. If we were going to become Outlaws, though we didn’t know that yet, we needed an Outlaw Lawyer, as Willie called him.”
The pair's "outlaw lawyer" helped them to create what would eventually be called outlaw music -- he was immensely important in the legacy of both artists.
“By getting RCA to agree to let Waylon do his music on his terms, Neil Reshen changed the art of the deal in Nashville, effectively breaking the feudal system, where the label owned the artist and the studio and the producer controlled the creative process,” Joe Nick Patoski penned in 2008's ‘Willie Nelson: An Epic Life.’
Although their working relationship was seemingly desirable, eventually both artists fired Reshen. He was accused of improperly handling their finances, but would recover, launching a successful management/business company in addition to representing publishing houses and authors.
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