Willie Nelson
American entertainer and songwriter
Willie Nelson
Willie Hugh Nelson is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie, combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger (1975) and Stardust (1978), made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music.
Biography
Willie Nelson's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Willie Nelson from around the web
Willie Nelson to return to stage after series of canceled shows due to illness
Fox News - 9 days
Willie Nelson is set to return to the stage after missing several shows because of a cold.
Article Link:
Fox News article
Dear Willie...
Huffington Post - 13 days
It was morning, a long time ago. I'd just moved to the Georgia Mountains during a down pour the night before and I felt like road kill. To be honest, despite its beauty, I was not happy about this place being my new home. I'd recently given birth to my youngest child and my beloved grandmother (Maw Maw, I called her) had passed away at almost the same time. Upon my arrival, I fell asleep in the new house without removing my makeup. So, on this particular morning, I had that hungover raccoon-eyed look. But I didn't concern myself with that as I loaded my baby in the back of my Thunderbird and headed to the nearest grocery store for supplies. Making my way through the aisles in zombie mode - just grabbing anything and everything - I was exhausted. Looking around at the other people, I felt totally out of my element. Yes, I'm Southern and they were Southern, but these were mountain people - a different breed altogether. I didn't think I would ever feel at home again. I made it thro ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Willie Nelson postpones two more shows because of illness
LATimes - 18 days
Today in Entertainment: Willie Nelson postpones shows; Grammy Awards to honor Prince and George Michael Feb. 8, 2017, 4:17 p.m. Major award shows such as the Grammys and the Oscars are right around the corner, but much of the arts and entertainment world is spending more time reacting to the new...
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LATimes article
Willie Nelson's 'God's Problem Child' album delivers all new material on April 28
LATimes - 25 days
Willie Nelson is showing no signs of slowing down as his 84th birthday approaches in April. He will release his latest studio collection, “God’s Problem Child,” on April 28, one day before he blows out the candles on his next birthday cake. It’s his first album of newly written songs since 2014’s...
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LATimes article
A Conversation With Willie Nelson, Part II: Living in the Promised Land
Huffington Post - 28 days
In the second portion of a two-part conversation, the American musician Willie Nelson tells Robert Scheer why, in spite of prevailing political conditions, he is optimistic about the future of the United States. Nelson also discussed his start in the music industry as a DJ and promoter and his love of Texas and Texans, and explained why he's not afraid of getting older. Why do Texans keep voting for "assholes," Scheer asks Nelson. "Because assholes keep running," Nelson replies. When Scheer points out that many liberals do not understand why millions of their fellow citizens voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, Nelson says: "I recorded a song called 'Living in the Promiseland.' ... It's about welcoming everyone: 'Living in the promiseland, our dreams are made of steel. The prayer of every man is to know how freedom feels. Bring us your foreign songs, we will sing along. ...' Come on. Come on, America. We love you. We'll help you. We'll find a spot for you." Scheer a ...
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Huffington Post article
Willie Nelson cancels two Las Vegas shows due to 'bad, bad cold'
Reuters.com - 30 days
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Country music veteran Willie Nelson was forced to cancel two upcoming shows in Las Vegas on Thursday because of a "bad, bad cold."
Article Link:
Reuters.com article
Willie Nelson: A Long Story From Franklin Roosevelt to Donald Trump
Huffington Post - about 1 month
In part one of a two-part conversation at his home in Hawaii, American musician Willie Nelson tells KCRW's "Scheer Intelligence" that his upbringing during the Depression was an ideal childhood. Nelson recently released his autobiography, It's a Long Story, about his "bare bones" childhood with his grandparents in Abbott, Texas, his trouble with the law and his bumpy path to success as an artist. Speaking with Scheer, he describes the influence of the church on his music and experience, a run-in with the IRS in the early 1990s that he considers positive, and his well-known appreciation for marijuana. Adapted from Truthdig.com -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Garth Brooks: 'May God Hold Trump's Hand in the Decisions He Makes' - RollingStone.com
Google News - about 1 month
RollingStone.com Garth Brooks: 'May God Hold Trump's Hand in the Decisions He Makes' RollingStone.com Garth Brooks explained why he isn't performing at Donald Trump's inauguration in a Facebook chat. By Chris Parton. 1 hour ago. More News. Why Even Trump-Friendly Artists Won't Perform at His Inauguration Willie Nelson Reveals New Trump-Inspired ... Garth Brooks Explains Why He Won't Play Trump InaugurationTaste of Country Garth Brooks finally explains why he turned down Trump inauguration gigFox News Garth Brooks Explains Why He Declined Inauguration Performance InvitationThe Boot PerezHilton.com -Just Jared -WNWN-FM -Irish Examiner all 19 news articles »
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Google News article
10 Tips for an Environmentally Healthier and Greener Travel Experience
Huffington Post - about 1 month
As part of my annual New Year's intentions, I look at the areas where I can improve my carbon footprint. For me, there's no question that travel is the area I can most improve upon. I started traveling long before anyone worried about the carbon footprint it left behind. I inherited the travel bug from my mother who had been an airline stewardess before she was married. We traveled as a family, then it was off to school, going to Europe after graduation and then to California where I eventually worked as an ad sales rep for Travel and Leisure Magazine where I really earned my wings with a territory that included Asia Pacific and the Southwestern United States and kept me in the air 120 days a year! There was a brief hiatus when I retired from that position to raise my children and settle into a greener, and slower paced life until I launched Greenopia. As Willie Nelson would say I was "back on the road again." Lightening your carbon footprint is the most obvious way to travel g ...
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Huffington Post article
Willie Nelson Got The Dopest Christmas Present From Snoop Dogg
Huffington Post - about 2 months
This is fire. On Tuesday, Willie Nelson shared what his friend Snoop Dogg got him for Christmas on Twitter: Thank you @SnoopDogg for the Christmas Sweater pic.twitter.com/jzaw7pkQEe — Willie Nelson (@willienelson) January 4, 2017 Their friendship isn’t new. Snoop told an audience at South by Southwest in 2015 how the two musicians hit it off when they collaborated on the 2008 song “My Medicine.” The 45-year-old rapper and the 83-year-old country icon also once hung out in Amsterdam while both were on tour. Snoop told Jimmy Fallon in 2015 that they were spending time in Nelson’s hotel room, playing dominoes and “enjoying life,” when they “developed a hunger.” So the pair headed to one of their favorite restaurants, KFC. “We pull up in the drive thru,” Snoop told the late-night host. “And we’re ordering the chicken, they give it to us, and when they give it to us, they hand us the big bucket. We take the top off, and we both put our hands in at the sam ...
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Huffington Post article
Watch Willie Nelson Perform 'Me And Bobby McGee'
NPR - about 2 months
The legend helps honor Kris Kristofferson as part of the Austin City Limits New Year's Eve celebration. (Image credit: YouTube)
Article Link:
NPR article
Grammy Nominations 2017 Include Beyoncé And Adele
Huffington Post - 3 months
Awards season is about to begin and music’s biggest night will be here before you know it. On Tuesday morning, the Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 59th annual Grammy Awards.  Last year’s Best New Artist, Meghan Trainor, got things rolling by revealing the general field awards on “CBS This Morning,” and more nominations were announced throughout the day.  Beyoncé leads with nine nominations, while Drake and Rihanna follow close behind with eight each. Meanwhile, Chance the Rapper is nominated for seven awards and Adele earned herself five noms.  Head over to Grammy.com for a full list of all the nominations for 2017: Album Of The Year: 25 — Adele Lemonade — Beyoncé Purpose — Justin Bieber Views — Drake A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson   Song Of The Year: “Formation”— Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles, Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyoncé) “Hello” — Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele) “I Took A Pill In I ...
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Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Willie Nelson
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2015
    Age 81
    In 2015 Nelson won the Gershwin Prize, the lifetime award of the Library of Congress.
    More Details Hide Details He was included by Rolling Stone on its 100 Greatest Singers and 100 Greatest Guitarists lists.
    After repeated instances of pneumonia and emphysema through the years, Nelson underwent stem-cell therapy in 2015 to improve the state of his lungs.
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    Following the legalization of marijuana in different states, Nelson announced in 2015 through spokesman Michael Bowman the establishment of his own marijuana brand, Willie's Reserve.
    More Details Hide Details Plans to open chain stores in the states were marijuana was legalized were announced, to be expanded state-to-state if marijuana legalization is further expanded. Bowman called the brand "a culmination of (Nelson's) vision, and his whole life". Nelson uses a variety of music styles to create his own distinctive blend of country music, a hybrid of jazz, pop, blues, rock and folk. His "unique sound", which uses a "relaxed, behind-the-beat singing style and gut-string guitar" and his "nasal voice and jazzy, off-center phrasing", has been responsible for his wide appeal, and has made him a "vital icon in country music", influencing the "new country, new traditionalist, and alternative country movements of the '80s and '90s".
    In 2015, the publication of a second Nelson autobiography entitled It's a Long Story: My Life was announced.
    More Details Hide Details Co-authored with David Ritz, the book was published on May 5, 2015. In 2002, Nelson became the official spokesman of the Texas Roadhouse, a chain of steakhouses. Nelson heavily promoted the chain and appeared on a special on Food Network. The chain installed Willie's Corner, a section dedicated to him and decked out with Willie memorabilia, at several locations. In 2008, Nelson reopened Willie's Place, a truck stop in Carl's Corner, Texas. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court allowed Nelson to invest in it. The establishment had about 80 employees and was used as a concert hall with a bar and a dance floor. It closed in 2011 after defaulting on a loan, leading to foreclosure and bankruptcy. In 2010, Nelson founded with the collaboration of producers and filmmakers Luck Films, a company dedicated to produce feature films, documentaries and concerts. The next year, he created Willie's Roadhouse, aired on channel 56 of SiriusXM radio. The channel was a result of the merger of his two other channels The Roadhouse and Willie's Place.
    His two sons Lukas and Micah with the band Promise of the Real have backed Neil Young on his single "A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop" which is from Young's concept album The Monsanto Years which was set for release at the end of June 2015.
    More Details Hide Details The song is aimed at Starbucks, Monsanto, and genetically modified food. By the end of May 2015, the song was Video of the week on the Food Consumer website.
    In June 2015, his collaboration with Haggard Django and Jimmie topped Billboard's Top Country albums chart and reached number seven on the Billboard 200.
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  • 2014
    Age 80
    In November 2014, it was announced that Nelson would be the host of the television series Inside Arlyn, shot at Arlyn Studio in Austin, Texas.
    More Details Hide Details The thirteen-episode first season would feature artists being interviewed by Nelson and Dan Rather, followed by a performance. The series concept received attention from cable channels that requested to see the pilot episode.
    In October 2014, the braids of Nelson were sold for at an auction of the Waylon Jennings State.
    More Details Hide Details In 1983, Nelson cut his braids and gave them to Jennings as a gift during a party celebrating Jennings' sobriety. Nelson's touring and recording group, the Family, is full of longstanding members. The original lineup included his sister Bobbie Nelson, drummer Paul English, harmonicist Mickey Raphael, bassist Bee Spears, Billy English (Paul's younger brother), and Jody Payne. The current lineup includes all the members but Jody Payne, who retired, and Bee Spears, who died in 2011. Willie & Family tours North America in the bio-diesel bus Honeysuckle Rose, which is fueled by Bio-Willie. Nelson's tour buses were customized by Florida Coach since 1979. The company built the Honeysuckle Rose I in 1983, which was replaced after a collision in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1990. The interior was salvaged and reused for the second version of the bus the same year. Nelson changed his tour bus in 1996, 2005 and 2013, currently touring on the Honeysuckle Rose V.
    In 2014, Nelson donated his personal collection to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.
    More Details Hide Details The items include photographs, correspondence, song manuscripts, posters, certificate records, awards, signed books, screenplays, personal items and gifts and tributes from Nelson's fans.
    A 2014 Tae Kwon Do Times magazine interview revealed that Nelson had developed an unorthodox manner of training during the lengthy periods of time he was on tour.
    More Details Hide Details Nelson would conduct his martial arts training on his tour bus "The Honeysuckle Rose" and send videos to his supervising Master for review and critique.
    In 2014, after twenty years in the discipline, his Grand Master Sam Um presented him with a fifth-degree black belt in a ceremony held in Austin, Texas.
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    His following release was Band of Brothers, in 2014, the first Nelson album to feature the most newly self-penned songs since 1996's Spirit.
    More Details Hide Details Upon its release, it topped Billboard's Top Country albums chart, the first time since 1986's The Promiseland, the last Nelson album to top it. The release reached number five on the Billboard 200, Nelson's highest position on the chart since 1982's Always on My Mind. In December 2014, a duet with Rhonda Vincent, "Only Me", topped Bluegrass Unlimited's National Airplay chart.
  • 2013
    Age 79
    During an interview with Texas Monthly in 2013, regarding the Defense of Marriage Act and Same-sex marriage in the United States, Nelson responded to a comparison the interviewer made with the Civil Rights Movement, stating: "We'll look back and say it was crazy that we ever even argued about this".
    More Details Hide Details He also presented two logos with the pink equal sign, symbol of the LBGT movement. The first one, featured the sign represented with two long braids; while the second one, featured the sign represented with two marijuana cigarettes. The use of the logos became viral instantly in social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Nelson lives in Maui, Hawaii, in a largely self-sustaining community where all the homes use only solar power. Neighbors include Kris Kristofferson, Woody Harrelson, and Owen Wilson. Nelson also owns a ranch near Austin, Texas.
  • 2012
    Age 78
    In February 2012, Legacy Recordings signed a deal with Nelson that included the release of new material, as well as past releases that would be selected and complemented with outtakes and other material selected by him.
    More Details Hide Details With the new deal, Buddy Cannon returned to produce the recordings of Nelson. After selecting the material and the sound of the tunes with the singer, Cannon's work method consisted in the recording of the tracks with studio musicians, with the takes later completed on a separate session by Nelson with his guitar. Cannon's association to Nelson also extended to songwriting, with singer and producer composing the lyrics by exchanging text messages. Nelson's first release for the Legacy Recordings was Heroes, that included guest appearances by his sons Lukas and Micah of the band Insects vs Robots, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Billy Joe Shaver and Sheryl Crow. The album reached number four on Billboard's Top Country Albums. His 2013 release To All the Girls, a collection of duets with all female partners, featured among others Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Mavis Staples, Norah Jones, Emmylou Harris, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. The album entered Billboard's Top Country Albums at number two, marking his highest position on the chart since the release of his 1989 A Horse Called Music, and extending his record to a total of forty-six top ten albums on the country charts. Nelson scored as well his second top ten album on the Billboard 200, with the release entering at number nine.
  • 2011
    Age 77
    It was nominated for Best Americana Album at the 2011 Grammy Awards.
    More Details Hide Details In 2011 Nelson participated in the concert Kokua For Japan, a fund raising event for the victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan which raised US$1.6 million.
  • 2010
    Age 76
    On November 26, 2010, Nelson was arrested in Sierra Blanca, Texas, for possession of six ounces of marijuana found in his tour bus while traveling from Los Angeles back to Texas.
    More Details Hide Details He was released after paying bail of US$2,500. Prosecutor Kit Bramblett supported not sentencing Nelson to jail due to the small amount of marijuana involved, but suggested instead a US$100 fine and told Nelson that he would have him sing "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" for the court. Judge Becky Dean-Walker said that Nelson would have to pay the fine but not to perform the song, explaining that the prosecutor was joking. Nelson's lawyer Joe Turner reached an agreement with the prosecutor. Nelson was set to pay a US$500 fine to avoid a two-year jail sentence with a 30-day review period, which in case of another incident would end the agreement. The judge later rejected the agreement, claiming that Nelson was receiving preferential treatment for his celebrity status; the offense normally carried a one-year jail sentence. Bramblett declared that the case would remain open until it was either dismissed or the judge changed her opinion.
    On May 26, 2010, the Associated Press reported that Nelson had cut his hair, and Nashville music journalist Jimmy Carter published a photograph of the pigtail-free Nelson on his website.
    More Details Hide Details Nelson wanted a more maintainable hairstyle, as well helping him stay cool more easily at his Maui home.
    In 2010, Austin, Texas renamed Second Street to Willie Nelson Boulevard.
    More Details Hide Details The city also unveiled a life-size statue to honor him, placed at the entrance of Austin City Limits new studio. The non-profit organization Capital Area Statues commissioned sculptor Clete Shields to execute the project. The statue was unveiled on April 20, 2012. The date selected by the city of Austin unintentionally coincided with the number 4/20, associated with cannabis culture. In spite of the coincidence and Nelson's advocacy for the legalization of marijuana, the ceremony was scheduled also for 4:20 pm. During the ceremony, Nelson performed the song "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die". The same year, Nelson was honored during the 46th Annual Country Music Association Awards as the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was also named after him. In 2013, he received an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music. The following year, he was part of the inaugural class inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame. Also included among the first inductees was his friend Darrell Royal, whose jamming parties that Nelson participated in were the source of inspiration for the show.
    On June 23, 2010 he was inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry.
    More Details Hide Details Nelson is an honorary trustee of the Dayton International Peace Museum.
    In April 2010, Nelson received the "Feed the Peace" award from The Nobelity Project for his extensive work with Farm Aid and overall contributions to world peace.
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    In 2010, during an interview with Larry King, Nelson expressed his doubts with regards to the attacks and the official story.
    More Details Hide Details Nelson explained that he could not believe that the buildings could collapse due to the planes, attributing instead the result to an implosion.
  • 2008
    Age 74
    In January 2008, Nelson filed a suit against the Texas Democratic Party, alleging that the party violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution by refusing to allow co-plaintiff Kucinich to appear on the primary ballot because he had scratched out part of the loyalty oath on his application.
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    The single was certified platinum; while the album was certified quadruple-platinum, and later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008.
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  • 2006
    Age 72
    While traveling to Ann W. Richards' funeral in 2006, Nelson, along with his manager and his sister, Bobbi, were arrested in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana and charged with possession of marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
    More Details Hide Details Nelson received six months probation.
    A supporter of the LGBT movement, Nelson published in 2006 through iTunes a version of Ned Sublette's "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other", that met instant success.
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  • 2005
    Age 71
    In 2005, Nelson and several other business partners formed Willie Nelson Biodiesel ("Bio-Willie"), a company that is marketing bio-diesel bio-fuel to truck stops.
    More Details Hide Details The fuel is made from vegetable oil (mainly soybean oil), and can be burned without modification in diesel engines. Nelson is an advocate for better treatment for horses and has been campaigning for the passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503/S. 311) alongside the Animal Welfare Institute. He is on its board of directors and has adopted a number of horses from Habitat for Horses. In 2008, Nelson signed on to warn consumers about the cruel and illegal living conditions for calves raised to produce milk for dairy products. He wrote letters to Land O'Lakes and Challenge Dairy, two of the major corporations that use milk from calves raised at California's Mendes Calf Ranch, which employs an intensive confinement practice that was the subject of a lawsuit and campaign brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
  • 2004
    Age 70
    In 2004, he and his wife Annie became partners with Bob and Kelly King in the building of two Pacific Bio-diesel plants, one in Salem, Oregon, and the other at Carl's Corner, Texas (the Texas plant was founded by Carl Cornelius, a longtime Nelson friend and the namesake for Carl's Corner).
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    Nelson supported Dennis Kucinich's campaign in the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries.
    More Details Hide Details He raised money, appeared at events, and composed the song "Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth?", criticizing the war in Iraq. He recorded a radio advertisement asking for support to put musician/author Kinky Friedman on the ballot as an independent candidate for the 2006 Texas gubernatorial election. Friedman promised Nelson a job in Austin as the head of a new Texas Energy Commission due to his support of bio-fuels.
  • 2001
    Age 67
    In 2001, following the September 11 attacks, he participated in the benefit telethon America: A Tribute to Heroes, leading the rest of the celebrities singing the song "America the Beautiful".
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1993
    Age 59
    Nelson then hid the guitar in his manager's house until his debt was paid in 1993.
    More Details Hide Details Nelson is active in a number of issues. Along with Neil Young and John Mellencamp, he set up Farm Aid in 1985 to assist and increase awareness of the importance of family farms, after Bob Dylan's comments during the Live Aid concert that he hoped some of the money would help American farmers in danger of losing their farms through mortgage debt. The first concert included Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, B.B. King, Roy Orbison, and Neil Young among many others, and raised over $9 million for America's family farmers. Besides organizing and performing in the annual concerts, Nelson is the president of the board of Farm Aid. Nelson is a co-chair of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) advisory board. He has worked with NORML for years, fighting for marijuana legalization. In 2005 Nelson and his family hosted the first annual "Willie Nelson & NORML Benefit Golf Tournament", leading to a cover appearance and inside interview in the January 2008 issue of High Times magazine. After his arrest for possession of marijuana in 2010, Nelson created the TeaPot party under the motto "Tax it, regulate it and legalize it!".
  • 1991
    Age 57
    In 1991, during his process with the IRS, Nelson was worried that Trigger could be auctioned off, stating: "When Trigger goes, I'll quit".
    More Details Hide Details He asked his daughter, Lana, to take the guitar from the studio before any IRS agent got there, and bring it to him on Maui.
  • 1988
    Age 54
    Following a divorce in 1988, he married his current wife, Annie D'Angelo, in 1991.
    More Details Hide Details They have two sons, Lukas Autry and Jacob Micah. Nelson traces his genealogy to the American Revolutionary War, in which his ancestor John Nelson served as a major. While swimming in Hawaii in 1981, Nelson's lung collapsed. He was taken to the Maui Memorial Hospital and his scheduled concerts were canceled. Nelson temporarily stopped smoking cigarettes each time his lungs became congested, and resumed when the congestion ended. He was then smoking between two and three packages per day. After suffering from pneumonia several times, he decided to quit either marijuana or tobacco. He chose to quit tobacco. In 2008 he started to smoke marijuana with a carbon-free system to avoid the effects of smoke. In 2004 Nelson underwent surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome, as he had damaged his wrists by continuously playing the guitar. On the recommendation of his doctor, he canceled his scheduled concerts and only wrote songs during his recovery. In 2012 he canceled a fund-raising appearance in the Denver area. He suffered from breathing problems due to high altitude and emphysema and was taken to a local hospital. His publicist Elaine Schock confirmed soon after that Nelson's health was good and that he was heading to his next scheduled concert in Dallas, Texas.
    In 1988 his first book, Willie: An Autobiography, was published.
    More Details Hide Details The Facts of Life: And Other Dirty Jokes, a personal recollection of tour and musical stories from his career, combined with song lyrics, followed in 2002. In 2005 he co-authored Farm Aid: A Song for America, a commemorative book about the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of Farm Aid. His third book, co-authored with long-time friend Turk Pipkin, The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart, was published in 2006. In 2007 a book advocating the use of bio-diesel and the reduction of gas emissions, On The Clean Road Again: Biodiesel and The Future of the Family Farm, was published. His next book, A Tale Out of Luck, published in 2008 and co-authored by Mike Blakely, was Nelson's first fictional book. In 2012, it was announced the release of a new autobiography by Nelson, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road. Released on November 13, it was named after the song from his album Heroes. The book contained further biographical details, as well as family pictures and stories about Nelson's political views, as well as his advocation for marijuana. The artwork of the book was designed by Nelson's son, Micah, and the foreword written by Kinky Friedman.
  • 1986
    Age 52
    Other movies that Nelson acted in include Wag the Dog, Gone Fishin' (as Billy 'Catch' Pooler), the 1986 television movie Stagecoach (with Johnny Cash), Half Baked, Beerfest, The Dukes of Hazzard, Surfer, Dude and Swing Vote.He has also made guest appearances on Miami Vice (1986's "El Viejo" episode), Delta, Nash Bridges, The Simpsons, Monk, Adventures in Wonderland, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, King of the Hill, The Colbert Report, Swing Vote and Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
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    He portrayed the lead role in the 1986 film version of his album Red Headed Stranger.
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  • 1984
    Age 50
    Meanwhile, he became more involved with charity work, such as singing on We are the World in 1984.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1982
    Age 48
    He played the role of Red Loon in Coming Out of the Ice in 1982 and starred in Songwriter two years later.
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  • 1980
    Age 46
    While the IRS disallowed his deductions for 1980, 1981 and 1982 (at a time that Nelson's income multiplied), due to penalties and interests, the debt increased by the end of the decade.
    More Details Hide Details His lawyer, Jay Goldberg, negotiated the sum to be lowered to US$16,000,000. Later, Nelson's attorney renegotiated a settlement with the IRS in which he paid US$6,000,000, although Nelson did not comply with the agreement. Nelson released The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories? as a double album, with all profits destined for the IRS. Many of his assets were auctioned and purchased by friends, who donated or rented his possessions to him for a nominal fee. He sued Price Waterhouse, contending that they put his money in illegal tax shelters. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount and Nelson cleared his debts by 1993. During the 1990s and 2000s, Nelson toured continuously, recording several albums including 1998's critically acclaimed Teatro, and performed and recorded with other acts including Phish, Johnny Cash, and Toby Keith. His duet with Keith, "Beer for My Horses", was released as a single and topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts for six consecutive weeks in 2003, while the accompanying video won an award for "Best Video" at the 2004 Academy of Country Music Awards. A USA Network television special celebrated Nelson's 70th birthday, and Nelson released The Essential Willie Nelson as part of the celebration. Nelson also appeared on Ringo Starr's 2003 album, Ringo Rama, as a guest vocal on "Write One for Me".
    In 1980, Nelson performed on the south lawn of the White House.
    More Details Hide Details The concert of September 13 featured First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Nelson in a duet of Ray Wylie Hubbard's "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother". Nelson frequently visited the White House, where according to the biography by Joe Nick Patoski, Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, he smoked marijuana on the White House roof. In 1990, the IRS seized most of Nelson's assets, claiming that he owed US$32,000,000. In addition to the unpaid taxes, Nelson's situation was worsened by the weak investments he had made during the early 1980s. In 1978, after he fired Reshen, Nelson was introduced by Dallas lawyer Terry Bray to the accounting firm Price Waterhouse. To repay the debt Reshen had created with the IRS, Nelson was recommended to invest in tax shelters that ultimately flopped.
    During the 1980s, Nelson recorded a series of hit singles including "Midnight Rider", a 1980 cover of the Allman Brothers song which Nelson recorded for The Electric Horseman, the soundtrack "On the Road Again" from the movie Honeysuckle Rose, and a duet with Julio Iglesias titled "To All the Girls I've Loved Before".
    More Details Hide Details In 1982, Pancho & Lefty, a duet album with Merle Haggard produced by Chips Moman was released. During the recording sessions of Pancho and Lefty, session guitarist Johnny Christopher and co-writer of "Always on My Mind", tried to pitch the song to an uninterested Haggard. Nelson, who was unaware of Elvis Presley's version of the song asked him to record it. Produced by Moman, the single of the song was released, as well as the album of the same name. The single topped Billboard's Hot Country Singles, while it reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100. The release won three awards during the 25th Annual Grammy Awards: Song of the Year, Best Country Song and Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
  • 1979
    Age 45
    As well as recording over sixty studio albums, Nelson has appeared in over thirty films and TV shows. His acting debut was in the 1979 film, The Electric Horseman, followed by appearances in Honeysuckle Rose, Thief, and Barbarosa.
    More Details Hide Details Recordings Films Books
    Nelson's acting debut was in the 1979 film, The Electric Horseman, followed by appearances in Honeysuckle Rose, Thief, and Barbarosa.
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  • 1978
    Age 44
    In 1978, Nelson released two more platinum albums.
    More Details Hide Details One, Waylon & Willie, was a collaboration with Jennings that included "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys", a hit single written and performed by Ed Bruce. Though observers predicted that Stardust would ruin his career, it went platinum the same year. Nelson continued to top the charts with hit songs during the late 1970s, including "Good Hearted Woman", "Remember Me", "If You've Got the Money I've Got the Time", and "Uncloudy Day".
  • 1977
    Age 43
    In the summer of 1977, Nelson discovered that Reshen had been filing tax extensions and not paying the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) since he took over as his manager.
    More Details Hide Details In June, a package containing cocaine was sent from Reshen's office in New York to Jennings in Nashville. The package was followed by the DEA, and Jennings was arrested. The charges were later dropped, since Reshen's assistant, Mark Rothbaum stepped in and took the charges. Rothbaum was sentenced to serve time in jail. Impressed by his attitude, Nelson fired Reshen and hired Rothbaum as his manager.
  • 1975
    Age 41
    Throughout his 1975 tour, Nelson raised funds for PBS-affiliated stations across the south promoting Austin City Limits.
    More Details Hide Details The pilot was aired first on those stations, later being released nationwide. The positive reception of the show prompted PBS to order ten episodes for 1976, formally launching the show. As Jennings was also achieving success in country music in the early 1970s, the pair were combined into a genre called outlaw country, since it did not conform to Nashville standards. The album Wanted! The Outlaws in 1976 with Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser cemented the pair's outlaw image and became country music's first platinum album. Later that year Nelson released The Sound in Your Mind (certified gold in 1978 and platinum in 2001) and his first gospel album Troublemaker (certified gold in 1986).
  • 1974
    Age 40
    His next release, Phases and Stages, released in 1974, was a concept album about a couple's divorce, inspired by his own experience.
    More Details Hide Details Side one of the record is from the viewpoint of the woman, and side two is from the viewpoint of the man. The album included the hit single "Bloody Mary Morning." The same year, he produced and starred in the pilot episode of PBS' Austin City Limits. Nelson then moved to Columbia Records, where he signed a contract that gave him complete creative control, made possible by the critical and commercial success of his previous albums. The result was the critically acclaimed, and massively popular 1975 concept album Red Headed Stranger. Although Columbia was reluctant to release an album with primarily a guitar and piano for accompaniment, Nelson and Waylon Jennings insisted. The album included a cover of Fred Rose's 1945 song "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain", that had been released as a single previous to the album, and became Nelson's first number one hit as a singer.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1973
    Age 39
    He formed his backing band, The Family, and by February 1973, he was recording his acclaimed Shotgun Willie at Atlantic Studios in New York City.
    More Details Hide Details Shotgun Willie, released in May 1973, earned excellent reviews but did not sell well. The album led Nelson to a new style, later stating that Shotgun Willie had "cleared his throat".
  • 1972
    Age 38
    After recording his final RCA single – "Mountain Dew" (backed with "Phases, Stages, Circles, Cycles and Scenes") in late April 1972, RCA requested that Nelson renew his contract ahead of schedule, with the implication that RCA would not release his latest recordings if he did not.
    More Details Hide Details Due to the failure of his albums, and particularly frustrated by the reception of Yesterday's Wine, although his contract was not over, Nelson decided to retire from music. Nelson moved to Austin, Texas, where the burgeoning hippie music scene (see Armadillo World Headquarters) rejuvenated the singer. His popularity in Austin soared as he played his own brand of country music marked by country, folk and jazz influences. In March, he performed on the final day of the Dripping Springs Reunion, a three-day country music festival aimed by its producers to be an annual event. Despite the failure to reach the expected attendance, the concept of the festival inspired Nelson to create the Fourth of July Picnic, his own annual event, starting the following year. Nelson decided to return to the recording business, he signed Neil Reshen as his manager to negotiate with RCA, who got the label to agree to end his contract upon repayment of US$14,000. Reshen eventually signed Nelson to Atlantic Records for US$25,000 per year, where he became the label's first country artist.
  • 1971
    Age 37
    The couple divorced in 1971, after Collie found a bill from the maternity ward of a Houston hospital charged to Nelson and Connie Koepke for the birth of Paula Carlene Nelson.
    More Details Hide Details Koepke and Nelson married the same year and had two daughters, Paula Carlene and Amy Lee.
    In early 1971 his single "I'm a Memory" reached the top 30.
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  • 1970
    Age 36
    In addition to the problems in his career, Nelson divorced Shirley Collie in 1970.
    More Details Hide Details In December, his ranch in Ridgetop, Tennessee burned down. He interpreted the incident as a signal for a change. He moved to a ranch near Bandera, Texas, and married Connie Koepke.
    By 1970, most of his songwriting royalties were invested in tours that did not produce significant profits.
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  • 1966
    Age 32
    During his first few years on RCA Victor, Nelson had no significant hits, but from November 1966 through March 1969, his singles reached the Top 25 in a consistent manner. "One in a Row" (#19, 1966), "The Party's Over" (#24 during a 16-week chart run in 1967), and his cover of Morecambe & Wise's "Bring Me Sunshine" (#13, March 1969) were Nelson's best-selling records during his time with RCA.
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  • 1965
    Age 31
    Country Willie – His Own Songs became Nelson's first RCA Victor album, recorded in April 1965.
    More Details Hide Details That same year he joined the Grand Ole Opry, and he met and became friends with Waylon Jennings after watching one of his shows in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1967, he formed his backing band "The Record Men", featuring Johnny Bush, Jimmy Day, Paul English and David Zettner.
  • 1964
    Age 30
    By the fall of 1964, Nelson had moved to RCA Victor at the behest of Chet Atkins, signing a contract for US$10,000 per year.
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    Fred Foster of Monument Records signed Nelson in early 1964, but only one single was released: "I Never Cared For You".
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1963
    Age 29
    Nelson's next marriage was to Shirley Collie in 1963.
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    In 1963 Collie and Nelson were married in Las Vegas.
    More Details Hide Details He then worked on the west coast offices of Pamper Records, in Pico Rivera, California. Since the job did not allow him the time to play music of his own, he left it and bought a ranch in Ridgetop, Tennessee, outside of Nashville.
  • 1962
    Age 28
    Nelson's tenure at Liberty yielded his first album entitled And Then I Wrote, released in September 1962.
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  • 1961
    Age 27
    Nelson signed with Liberty Records and was recording by August 1961 at Quonset Hut Studio.
    More Details Hide Details His first two successful singles as an artist were released by the next year, including "Willingly" (a duet with his soon-to-be second wife, Shirley Collie, which became his first charting single and first Top Ten at No. 10) and "Touch Me" (his second Top Ten, stalling at No. 7).
  • 1960
    Age 26
    Nelson moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1960, but was unable to find a label to sign him.
    More Details Hide Details During this period he often spent time at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, a bar near the Grand Ole Opry frequented by the show's stars and other singers and songwriters. There Nelson met Hank Cochran, a songwriter who worked for the publishing company Pamper Music, owned by Ray Price and Hal Smith. Cochran heard Nelson during a jam session with Buddy Emmons and Jimmy Day. Cochran had just earned a raise of US$50 a week, but convinced Smith to pay Nelson the money instead to sign him to Pamper Music. On hearing Nelson sing "Hello Walls" at Tootsie's, Faron Young decided to record it. After Ray Price recorded Nelson's "Night Life", and his previous bassist Johnny Paycheck quit, Nelson joined Price's touring band as a bass player. While playing with Price and the Cherokee Cowboys, his songs became hits for other artists, including "Funny How Time Slips Away" (Billy Walker), "Pretty Paper" (Roy Orbison), and, most famously, "Crazy" by Patsy Cline. Nelson and Cochran also met Cline's husband, Charlie Dick at Tootsie's. Dick liked a song of Nelson's he heard on the bar's jukebox. Nelson played him a demo tape of "Crazy." Later that night Dick played the tape for Cline, who decided to record it. "Crazy" became the biggest jukebox hit of all time.
    He sold "Family Bible" to Buskirk for and "Night Life" for. "Family Bible" turned into a hit for Claude Gray in 1960.
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  • 1958
    Age 24
    After his son Billy was born in 1958, the family moved to Houston, Texas.
    More Details Hide Details On the way, Nelson stopped by the Esquire Ballroom to sell his original songs to house band singer Larry Butler. Butler refused to purchase the song "Mr. Record Man" for, instead giving Nelson a US$50 loan to rent an apartment and a six-night job singing in the club. Nelson rented the apartment near Houston in Pasadena, Texas, where he also worked at the radio station as the sign-on disc jockey. During this time, he recorded two singles for Pappy Daily on D Records "Man With the Blues"/"The Storm Has Just Begun" and "What a Way to Live"/"Misery Mansion". Nelson then was hired by guitar instructor Paul Buskirk to work as an instructor in his school.
  • 1956
    Age 22
    Nelson was hired by KVAN in Vancouver, Washington and appeared frequently on a television show. He made his first record in 1956, "No Place For Me", that included Leon Payne's "Lumberjack" on the B-side.
    More Details Hide Details The recording failed. Nelson continued working as a radio announcer and singing in Vancouver clubs. He made several appearances in a Colorado nightclub, later moving to Springfield, Missouri. After failing to land a spot on the Ozark Jubilee, he started to work as a dishwasher. Unhappy with his job, he moved back to Texas. After a short time in Waco, he settled in Fort Worth, and quit the music business for a year. He sold bibles and vacuum cleaners door-to-door, and eventually became a sales manager for the Encyclopedia Americana.
  • 1955
    Age 21
    With the equipment of the station, Nelson made his first two recordings in 1955: "The Storm Has Just Begun" and "When I've Sung My Last Hillbilly Song".
    More Details Hide Details He recorded the tracks on used tapes, and sent the demos to the local label SARG Records. SARG rejected the recordings. Nelson then had stints working for KDNT in Denton, Texas, KCUL and KCNC in Fort Worth, Texas, where he hosted The Western Express, taught Sunday school and he played in nightclubs. He then decided to move to San Diego. He was unable to find a job, and decided to go to Portland, Oregon, where his mother lived. Nelson tried to hitchhike, but after nobody picked him up, he slept in a ditch. He then found a nearby railroad yard and boarded a freight train that left him in Eugene. A truck driver then drove Nelson to a bus station and loaned him US$10 for a ticket to reach Portland.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1952
    Age 18
    Willie Nelson has married four times and fathered seven children. His first marriage was to Martha Matthews; it lasted from 1952 to 1962.
    More Details Hide Details The couple had three children: Lana, Susie and Willie "Billy" Hugh, Jr. Billy died by suicide in 1991. The marriage was marked by violence, with Matthews assaulting Nelson several times, including one incident when she sewed him up in a bed sheet and then beat him with a broomstick.
  • 1950
    Age 16
    After leaving school, in 1950, he joined the United States Air Force for eight to nine months.
    More Details Hide Details Upon his return, in 1952, he married Martha Matthews, and from 1954 to 1956 studied agriculture at Baylor University. Nelson joined the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, but dropped out to pursue a career in music. He worked as a bouncer for a nightclub, as a partsman in an autohouse, saddle maker, tree trimmer again and as an oilfield worker. He later joined Johnny Bush's band. Nelson moved with his family to Pleasanton, Texas, where he auditioned for a disc jockey job in KBOP. The owner of the station, Dr. Ben Parker, gave Nelson the job despite his lack of experience working on radio.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1933
    Born
    Willie Nelson was born in Abbott, Texas on April 29, 1933, during the Great Depression, to Myrle Marie (née Greenhaw) and Ira Doyle Nelson.
    More Details Hide Details He was born on April 29, but his birth was recorded by doctor F. D. Sims on April 30. He was named Willie by his cousin Mildred, who also chose Hugh as his middle name, in honor of her recently deceased younger brother. Nelson's ancestry includes Cherokee, English, and Irish. His parents moved from Arkansas in 1929, to look for work. Nelson's grandfather, William, worked as a blacksmith, while his father worked as a mechanic. His mother left soon after he was born, and his father remarried and also moved away, leaving Willie and his sister Bobbie to be raised by their grandparents. The Nelsons, who taught singing back in Arkansas, started their grandchildren in music. Nelson's grandfather bought him a guitar when he was six, and taught him a few chords, and with his sister Bobbie, he sang gospel songs in the local church. He wrote his first song at age seven, and when he was nine, played guitar for the local band Bohemian Polka. During the summer, the family picked cotton along with other citizens of Abbott. Nelson disliked picking cotton, so he earned money by singing in dance halls, taverns, and honky tonks from age 13, and continuing through high school. Nelson's musical influences were Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell, Ray Price, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Django Reinhardt, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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