A group of Country music’s biggest artists can lay claim to a common instrument that helped them step forward toward stardom. Here’s three hall of famers once played bass guitar in another singer’s band.

Merle Haggard played multiple instruments during his time in the spotlight. However Wynn Stewart took a liking to a young Haggard when both were working in Las Vegas to earn a job in Stewart’s band. Such was the relationship between the two that Stewart wrote one of Merle’s earliest hits.

When trying to break into the music business, you try to gain any foothold that presents itself. Kenny Rogers had a minor hit with a solo record in the late 1950’s, then latched on as a bass player in The Bobby Doyle Three which was a jazz group. Also when Kenny eventually formed the First Edition, he played bass there as well.

The most tragic example of these three hall-of-famers was a short-lived run for Waylon Jennings as bass player for Buddy Holly. Both artists were from Lubbock, Texas and Jennings was infamously supposed to be on the plane with Holly when it departed from Clear Lake Iowa on the “Day the Music Died” giving up his seat instead to The Big Bopper.

There are other singers who played bass guitar and eventually made their made their mark in country music. That’s a pretty big threesome at the top of the list.

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