December 23, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

Lyle Lovett remembers Hunter S. Thompson

July 18, 1937 – Feb. 20, 2005

I was a journalism major at Texas A&M, so Hunter was one of my heroes. When I found out he included me on his ”Honor Roll” list in his book Songs of the Doomed, I was stunned and honored. We became friends and stayed in touch. Hunter had a heart as big as the world. He knew the difference between right and wrong and loved to illuminate people who might be too much in the dark. He was genuinely thoughtful about people in his life; he always demonstrated interest in what I was doing — he was like a great teacher. I never saw him live up to the antics you’d find in one of his books, but he didn’t mind courting that perception. He liked to play the outsize iconoclast, but not without purpose — he was very mindful of every step he was taking. He had fun, and there was always that glint of mischief. One time we were backstage and he found out our next show was in Salt Lake City. He said, ”Well, you’ll need a pace car for that. You ought to buy my Cadillac.” I figured if Hunter S. Thompson offers to sell you his car, the only thing you can do is ask him how much. He said, ”Two thousand dollars,” and I paid him right there. There was a case of beer in the trunk, and he threw that in, too. (Thompson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Woody Creek, Colo.)

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