"Be here. Be present. Wherever you are, be there."

Happy birthday Willie Nelson!

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Willie Nelson (born April 30, 1933) is an American country music musician. He is also an author, poet, actor, and political activist. He is known for his trademark bandana and long hair, to go along with the against-the-grain sound that he coined in opposition to 1950s Nashville country. He promotes the use of biofuels and the legalization of marijuana. His most notable tracks include "Hello Walls", "Pretty Paper", "Crazy", "On the Road Again", "To All the Girls I've Loved Before", and "Pancho & Lefty" but he has made over sixty recordings.

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Nelson was born in Abott, Texas during the Great Depression. His parents, Myrtle Marie and Ira Doyle Nelson, left Nelson and his brother while they were still young and they were raised by their grandparents. His grandparents had taught singing and his grandfather had been the one to buy Nelson his first guitar. Nelson had many jobs in his youth, from tree-trimmer to phone operator to bouncer at a nightclub. He was also in a band called The Texans, formed by his sister's husband.

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After spending 8-9 months in the Air Force, he began studying agriculture at Baylor University, but dropped out after two years to pursue music. Nelson had many jobs in his youth, from tree-trimmer to phone operator to bouncer at a nightclub. He was also in a band called The Texans, formed by his sister's husband. When he couldn't find work in the early fifties, he decided to move to San Diego, California and then, unsuccessful, hitchhiked to Portland, Oregon.

Nelson moved a few more times, first to Vancouver for a job at KVAN, where he recorded his first album. When that record was unsuccessful, he moved on to Missouri and then back to Texas. (Image source)

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His music career perhaps really started when he landed a gig playing six nights at a club in Houston. By 1960, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, though it took a while for any labels to sign him. He eventually got a job as a songwriter and his songs "Hello Walls," sung by Faron Young, and Patsy Cline's rendition of "Crazy" became hits. He released an album of his own the following year, but his gritty style did not fit the country scene as it was then and there.

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He left Nashville after his house burned down and started to develop a following back in Texas. He released Shotgun Willie in 1973, now considered to be one of the greatest albums of all time. But it wasn't until Red Headed Stranger (1975) that Nelson garnered accolades from both the rock and country worlds. Nelson ran with some of country's greats–Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser.

In the late 1970s, Nelson began to appear in films, beginning with The Electric Horseman (1979), and later Honeysuckle Rose (1980), for which he wrote the song "On the Road Again." The song would go on to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

 

 

By the mid 1980s, Nelson was critically and popularly acclaimed. He worked with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson in the group The Highwaymen. Their first album, Highwayman (1985), was a hit and they went on to produce another studio album and a live album.

The late 1980s and early 1990s saw challenges for Nelson. He owed money to the IRS and he was arrested for marijuana possession, and his son committed suicide, but he handled the incidents with aplomb, continuing to produce as well as founding the Farm Aid concert with Neil Young and John Mellencamp to raise money for family farmers.

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Nelson has continued to be politically active and to entertain in the last two decades. He is widely renown, and has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the National Agriculture Hall of Fame.

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Selected Works

Always on My Mind 

Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down

Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning

Funny How Time Slips Away

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Wednesday, 30 April 2014
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